The Zimbabwean government has ordered the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority to suspend a rate increase of 30 percent which it recently announced for fear that higher costs of power to consumers and business will cause broad economic damage.
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma said the decision was made by the government after the potential impact on households and enterprises became clear.
Mangoma said ZESA must consult consumers before proposing further rate increases. The proposed increase infuriated ZESA customers many of whom were already up in arms about massive electric bills despite chronic power outages.
Mangoma said it may take time for ZESA to come up with a new pricing scheme.
“We cannot set a specific time-frame for this as we need wide consultations on this issue,” he said.
ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira confirmed that the state utility has suspended the increase. “”Government is a major stakeholder in our day to day operations and if they order us not to increase rates, we comply with such directives,” Gwasira said.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe Director Rosemary Siyachitema earlier blasted the troubled parastatal utility accusing it of misleading consumers when indicating the proposed rate increase was 30 percent when it was actually 50 percent.