GOVERNMENT has dismissed as false, reports circulating on social media suggesting that electricity tariffs for prepaid meters will go up by 150 percent with effect from today.
In an interview yesterday, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Dr Joram Gumbo, said no power tariff adjustment had been effected as yet and urged the public to ignore the social media claims.
“No power tariff increases have been effected as yet, and as Government we advise the public not to be misled by the social media claims suggesting that power tariffs have been increased.
“We don’t use social media to communicate our policies and if there is anything pertaining to any change in policy, as Government, we have got our own channels of communicating with the public.
“People should listen to announcements that come through the Government,” he said.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) also refuted the power tariff hike claims.
“ZETDC would like to advise its valued customers that it is not increasing electricity tariffs by 150 percent starting Friday 15 March 2019 as being reported on social media.
“ZETDC would like to express it’s concern over the malicious social media messages that are urging consumers to buy electricity in bulk in order to beat a purported 150 percent increase in the price of power,” it said.
The power utility urged consumers to disregard the misleading social media claims that were creating panic buying and inconveniencing consumers.
“Tariff increase is a process that is not haphazardly implemented but is done through a consultative process in consultation with consumers, the regulator and shareholder, among other key stakeholders.”
Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority acting Chief Executive Officer Mr Eddington Mazambani said they had seen articles in newspapers on alleged proposals for tariff increases but no application for a review had been submitted.
“The price of electricity has not changed and any changes will be done in accordance with the law that requires that the public be informed through an application done by the applicant.
Once that advertisement is done, the assessment of any proposal begins. This includes consultations with stakeholders among other activities which are conducted by Zera,” said Mr Mazambani.
The social media messages have caused panic among residents with some flocking to buy electricity in anticipation of power price hikes.
The Zesa system has of late been faulty as consumers have been failing to purchase prepaid power through EcoCash and their banks. At the moment, during off-peak periods, Zesa charges 4c per kilowatt hour while the average rate for peak periods is USc9,86 per kWh.