These are the latest ZERA approved tariffs for the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), the division of ZESA that provides electricity to final consumers.

Prices starting 14 November

Consumption Bands in kWH (units)Price (ZWL$)/kWHEst Price including 6% REA
First 50 units1.631.7278
101-200 kWh5.736.0738
201-300 kWh8.178.6602
300 units and above10.2810.8968

Old Prices

Consumption Bands in kWH (units)Price (ZWL$)/kWHEst Including Levy (ZWL$)
1 – 50kWh1.671.7702
51 – 200kWh3.653.869
201 – 300kWh9.9210.5152
300 and above15.5716.5042
  • The tariffs given by ZESA do not include 6% Rural Electrification Levys
  • The tariffs on the right are our own estimations when the levy is included
  • Units and kWh/hour are one and the same thing.
  • Unlike most organisations, ZETDC has not yet introduced dual pricing

When will the tariffs start to apply?

According to the approval given by ZERA, the tariffs are coming into effect immediately.

What has changed?

Well if you look at the old tariff structure you might be tempted into thinking nothing has changed. But look closely at the old structure:

  • First 50 units are now being charged at a base tariff of $1.63 instead of $1.67 per unit
  • Bands have been reworked with new bands:
    • Band 50-100 where you will pay $3.27 instead of 3.63
    • Band 100-200 where you will pay $5.73 instead of the old $3.63
  • From 201-300 units will be charged at $8.17 instead of the old $9.92 per unit
  • All units above 300 will now be charged at the rate of $10.28 instead of the old $15.57
  • Remember these prices do not include the Rural electrification levy of 6%
  • To get your total bill for a certain amount of units, multiply the final base cost by 1.06

On 14 November 2020 ZESA added two new bands 50-100 and 101-200 units which gives a total of 300 subsidised units. After the first 300 units, you will start paying the tariff of $10.28 per unit

In order for you to take advantage of the affordable bands, you need to spend $1 862.50 ZWL per month before levy and about $1 974.25 ZWL after levy. This will get you 300 kWh of electricity. If you spend more than this everything above $1 862.50 will be charged at the expensive tariff of $10.28 ZWL per unit. If you spend less it means you are not taking advantage of the preferential tariffs available to you.

Is electricity cheaper on the first day of the month?

The answer is yes and no. Each month you are entitled to a discounted 300 units (kWh) of electricity which costs about $1082.00 at current tariffs. So the first $1 862.50 you spend gets you 300 kWh of electricity. So even if you buy electricity on the 10th as long as it is your first purchase of the month your $1 862.50 will get you 300kWh. This quota is restored on the first day of each month. This means that if you bought up all your 300 kWh in June from 1 July you can now buy that 300 kWh at $1 862.50. You can buy that amount on 1 July or 20 July, it doesn’t matter, so long as it’s your first purchase and it’s July.

Each new month the quota resets. This has resulted in the myth that electricity is cheaper on the first day of each month. It’s not true, each month your cheap quota of 300 kWh is restored.

What is a stepped tariff?

ZESA does not use a flat tariff like it used to. Instead, they use a stepped tariff. What this means is that the first few units you buy are cheaper. So, for example, the first 50 units you buy each month attract a charge of $1.63 ZWL. The next 51-100 units are charged a rate of $3.27 ZWL. The idea is to make sure those who are poor can afford electricity but also make sure that those who use a lot of electricity pay more. So the more you use the more expensive the electricity becomes. Each month you get 300 kWh you can buy at a discounted rate.

I am still confused how many units will I get if I spend this much?

How much you will get depends on how much electricity you have already bought in that particular month. If this is your first time buying electricity that month you will get. You can use the ZESA calculator here to know exactly how many units you will get. If the calculator is down just wait for it to come back up. The calculator is usually down during the first days of each month as scores of people want to buy electricity too. As already said above you can always buy your cheap units anytime during the month and to necessarily on the first of each month.

Does cooking in the evening or early in the morning save electricity?

There are social media posts that claim that you can save on electricity if you use power early in the morning or late at night. That is false. ZESA only has one tariff regime whether it’s off-peak or during peak hours. When you top up on units these units represent actual kWhs. The amount of power devices consume does not normally depend on the time of day. This means that you will not save any power by cooking late at night or early in the morning.

What is a unit?

ZESA power is sold in units. One unit is equal to 1 kWh.

Where can I buy electricity?

If you want to pay using Ecocash/OneMoney consider buying using the methods below.

Because electricity is that important there are so many places and ways to buy electricity we cannot possibly list them all. However here are some of the ways:

  • Using Ecocash or other mobile money wallets i.e. OneMoney and Telecash
  • Using mobile or internet banking- all of Zimbabwe’s major banks allow you to buy electricity tokens via USSD, banking apps or online banking
  • You can also top up ZESA using Paynow which is an online system.
  • Buy from vendors, these grace every neighbourhood and often when everything else fails, buying from a vendor will work
  • Buy from your nearest ZESA office