Zesa Holdings which wants to raise its tariffs, saying the present tariffs were now sub-economic, says has failed to electrify 75 000 households in five years, due to vandalism.

Acting managing director for Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) Lovemore Chinaka said this before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development.

He said the existing rate was approximately 2.3 US cents per kilowatt hour instead of 10 US cents per kWh, which will allow the power utility to break-even.

Movements in the exchange rate since the last increase had made electricity prices sub-economic and threatened Zesa viability.

“The long-term impact would be that we will be unable to fix the grid from a maintenance point if we have natural failures of transformers or lines that are down due to age.

“You find that our capacity to respond quickly has been eroded,” said Chinaka.

Turning to vandalism, Chinaka said Zesa has been denied an opportunity to electrify 75 000 households in the past five years due to rampant vandalism and thefts resulting in resources being re-directed to replace stolen equipment.

In 2017, Zesa registered 736 cases of thefts and vandalism, but this rose in 2018 to 766 and last year shot up to 1 178 cases. As of July this year, 498 cases had been recorded.

Chinaka said the cases were high at the beginning of the year, but dropped during the initial phases of lockdown that was introduced in March.