Zimbabwe electicity price shoots up by 320%
Zimbabwe's power regulator has increased the average electricity price by 320%. The decision was taken to allow it to ramp up production and improve supplies amid daily power cuts.
Essentially, the electricity company needs more money to pay for things like diesel to power the generators. Zimbabwe is grappling with the worst economic crisis since the 2017 coup which unseated President Robert Mugabe.
The increase in electricity prices – the second in the past three months - has angered Zimbabweans who are already struggling with sharp increases in the prices of fuel and basic goods.
The government says rolling power outages, which last up to 18 hours a day, have affected mines, factories and households.
It says the power shortages, combined with a devastating drought, mean Zimbabwe’s struggling economy is set to shrink this year.
Neighbouring Zambia has been experiencing similar problems, with daily 8-hour power-cuts since July 2015. Low water-levels at the main reservoirs for hydroelectric generation have triggered a power deficit of 34% of demanded electricity. With the country’s historically abundant power supply, the sudden crisis has caught households and businesses unprepared and without back-up sources of energy.
Zambia’s crisis coincides with the country’s toughest economic challenges in years, compounding the economic slowdown. Large businesses, with installed generators, have seen production costs rise while smaller businesses have cut production or operate at night when the power is on. The already struggling mining sector, lifeblood of the economy and biggest electricity consumer (55%), has had to cut power usage by 30%.