The new ZESA stepped tariff system introduced by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission And Distribution Company makes a lot of sense on the surface. Heavy users ought to pay more to dissuade them from wasting electricity and the vulnerable in society need protection. However, there is one thing they failed to take into account…

The majority of people who live in urban areas like Harare are lodgers and not landlords. A good number of lodgers often share a prepaid meter with their landlords because its kind of not so easy to get a separate prepaid meter for each of your tenants because meters are expensive and often in short supply.

The end result is something sad as we have begun to observe out in the wild. A lot of households where there are tenants and landlords are now buying electricity at the punitive $3.87 per unit. This is because a sad assumption is made, if you are using one meter then you are one household- a simplistic assumption here.

This means the most vulnerable that are supposed to be protected by the lifeline tariff are not getting the protection that they deserve even though that was the aim. Protection is now being given to those who are slightly well off and can afford to rent/own a full house.

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