Higher power users set to pay more under new ZERA proposals


ZERA chief executive, Gloria Magombo

GOVERNMENT is planning to implement cost reflective power tariffs — under which higher users will pay more — to reduce the high consumption of energy in the country which is battling power shortages, an official said on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe is faced with a power deficit due to limited investment in the capital intensive energy sector.

The country, which has five power stations, produces half of its peak demand of 2,200MW but the power utility ZESA is currently undertaking projects to increase capacity at Hwange Thermal Power station and Kariba South.

“This will be a stick for people to use energy efficiently. The region is also adopting the cost effective tariffs,” said the director for policy and planning department in the energy ministry, Benson Munyaradzi.

He was speaking at the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) energy efficiency audit results presentation.

The energy efficiency audit which has been running since February last year sought to among others determine the country’s energy efficiency baseline, quantify energy savings in all sectors of the economy and to formulate a national energy efficiency policy framework.

ZERA chief executive, Gloria Magombo said households were the highest consumers of energy at 35 percent followed by manufacturing (25 percent), mining (14 percent) while commercial consumes 20 percent and agriculture six percent.

“The other initiatives, which we are looking at is developing the energy efficiency regulations. Basically the key area is to ban the use of incandescent bulbs and also come up with the minimum energy performance standards for appliances,” she said.

Magombo said ZERA was looking at introducing tariffs which would come up with a signal to ensure that people used energy efficiently.

“One of those types of tariff is a set tariff for domestic where as you consume more, you pay more and it forces you to be more energy efficient. And also to come up with a time of use tariff which then helps people to plan their consumption and target off peak period,” she said.

Meanwhile, Munyaradzi said while waiting for most power projects to come on line, prepaid meters would be installed to manage consumption.

“It is our target that all households should have prepaid meters by 2018,” he said, adding that so far over 542,000 meters had been installed.

The study established that there is lack of energy policies in companies and institutions. Organisations also lack energy efficiency culture. It also established that there is still prevalence of energy inefficient lighting and domestic appliances use in most of the sectors.

The study recommended, among others, that people switch to alternative water heating and food preparation alternatives such as heat pumps and gas and to also switch to LED lighting. Users were urged to purchase energy efficiency appliances, to install geyser timers and to consider solar PV to augment energy requirements. – Chipo Musoko/The Source