Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has made structural changes to the stepped domestic prepayment tariff which they say promotes fair usage. Under the formula, the amount a household pays will be directly proportional to the scale of power usage.
Power purchases have been stratified into three tariff bands. Because access to electricity is considered an essential need, there is a heavily subsidized first component.
This is referred to as the lifeline tariff, the 50 units of power which every household is sold to at a heavily subsidized rate of 41 cents per kWh.
Every household is entitled to these 50 units which according to Zesa are supposed to power a two-plate stove and five lights for a single calendar month. The lifeline tariff was crafted to cater to low-income households.
So when people buy electricity, their first $20.50 falls under this category. The second band is where Zesa believes 80 percent of their household customers fall and they consider it to be the optimal use level.
Under this tariff category, electricity costs 91 cents per kWh and here the subsidy is there but relatively lower. Households are only allowed to purchase 150 kWh which adds to the initial 50 kWh to make up 200 kWh which are considered to be enough for a household using power optimally.
At the current cost, this band costs the electricity buyer $136.50. Those who go beyond the first two bands are considered to be heavy users.
At this point, there is no subsidy and Zesa relays the unfiltered cost of electricity to the consumer at the rate of $3.87 per unit.
Under this tariff band, there is no limit to what one can buy, as long as the capacity is there on the purchaser's part. When a single power purchase is made in a household, this kicks in at $157, anything above that is premium rated.
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