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

Latest ZESA tariffs

Consumption BandsPrice ZWL$Est Price including 6% REA (ZWL$)
First 50 units2.122.25
51 – 1004.254.51
101 – 2007.447.89
201 – 30010.6211.26
301 -40012.2112.94
401 and above12.7413.50
  • Some of the tariffs given by ZESA do not include 6% Rural Electrification Levy
  • 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. As always rules don’t seem to apply to the government’s own entities

When will the tariffs start to apply?

According to the approval given by ZERA, the tariffs are coming into effect immediately. The new tariffs came into effect around 26 May. Sometimes tariffs just come into effect without being publicly announced.

What has ZESA changed this time around?

The first 50 units are still being charged at a base tariff of $2.25 per unit before the REA levy

Bands have been reworked with new bands:

Band 50-100 where you will pay $4.51 per unit

Band 100-200 where you will pay $7.89 per unit

From 201-300 units will be charged at $11.26 per unit

A new band introduced by the latest change:301-400 units with a tariff of $12.94 per unit

All units above 400 will now be charged at the rate of $13.50

Remember these prices 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

Around 28 November 2020 ZESA added a new band 301-400 units which give a total of 400 subsidised units. After the first 400 units, you will start paying the tariff of $13.50 per unit

In order for you to take advantage of the affordable bands, you need to spend $3 547.00 after levy. This will get you 400 kWh of electricity. If you spend more than this everything above $3 547.00 will be charged at the expensive tariff of $13.50 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 400 units (kWh) of electricity which costs about $2 743.00 at current tariffs. So the first $3 547.00 you spend gets you 400 kWh of electricity. Therefore even if you buy electricity on the 10th as long as it is your first purchase of the month your $3 547.00 will get you 400kWh. This quota is restored on the first day of each month. This means that if you bought up all your 400 kWh in June from 1 July you can now buy that 400 kWh at $3 547.00. You can buy that amount on 1 December or 20 December, it doesn’t matter, so long as it’s your first purchase and it’s December.

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 400 kWh is restored.

What is a stepped tariff?

ZESA stepped tariff calculations. Note this calculation shows the first purchase of the month

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 $2.25 ZWL per unit. The next 51-100 units are charged a rate of $4.51 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 400 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 electricity at a cheaper rate. 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 not 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. This is your best bet if the system seems down on other portals.

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