Harare – Zimbabwe hiked its average electricity tariff by 320% on Wednesday to ramp up power supplies at a time of daily blackouts, but the move will anger consumers already grappling with soaring inflation that is eroding their earnings.
The southern African nation is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade, seen in triple-digit inflation, 18-hour power cuts and shortages of U.S. dollars, medicines and fuel that have evoked the dark days of the 2008 hyperinflation under late President Robert Mugabe.
The second increase in the price of electricity inside three months follows sharp rises in fuel and basic goods prices in the last week. But salaries have not kept pace, prompting citizens to blame President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s policies for the crisis.
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) said it had approved an application by Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) to raise the tariff to 162.16 cents from 38.61 cents.
ZERA said the tariff hike was necessary after inflation soared – the IMF says it was about 300% in August – and due to a plummeting Zimbabwe dollar currency, which was re-introduced in June.