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Zimbabweans Make Tough Choices about How to Allocate their Power Usage

Hit by a combination of man-made and natural challenges, the state power company simply could not generate enough electricity to keep up with demand, forcing it to institute blackouts for up to 17 hours a day. Since last fall, though, routine outages have been minimised to a few hours and only on isolated days, but not because more power is available. Electricity tariffs in Zimbabwe skyrocketed in October 2019, when the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) approved an application by ZPC’s parent company – the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) – to dramatically increase tariffs. The price hike aimed to curtail household power consumption, bring tariffs in line with inflation, and eliminate subsidies the Zimbabwean government can ill afford. But wages have not kept pace with the country’s blistering inflation. And the squeeze on household finances has now become a stranglehold after the regulator approved another 50 percent tariff increase late last month.