The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry (CZI) is reported to have threatened to take the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) to court for pressurising firms to pay a rate double the current level or face 14-hour blackouts.

Currently, firms pay 7 cents/kWh. ZESA is offering firms the choice of paying 13 cents/kWh for guaranteed supply, or continue to pay 7 cents/kWh and face outages of up to 14 hours per day.

ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira said the special rate is intended to save power and boost production in various industrial sectors. He said: “Companies are not being forced to pay the higher tariffs, but we recommend that they do so in order to have access to uninterrupted power.”

The World Bank has estimated that Zimbabwe needs $13bn – double its GDP – to overhaul its power system that has fallen into disrepair.

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