Want to pay for ZESA using USD? Here’s all you need to know

Leonard Sengere Avatar
ZESA prepaid meter, prepaid token, tariffs, zetdc, hwange fault

I know that many people love that government services can be paid for using ZW$ because that means they can convert their USD at a good rate (i.e. the street rate which is always higher than the official one) and then make the payment.

However, there are times when accessing that market is not possible or inconvenient. What’s one to do when they have USD but need to purchase ZESA tokens?

ZESA announced that they now accept USD. You can walk into a ZESA branch with your USD and hand it over to the cashier and you’ll be given a token. You can also use InnBucks and EcoCash USD to pay.

However, It’s not that simple. They don’t really bill you in USD, they just convert your USD to ZW$ at the prevailing interbank rate at the time of purchase. So, if you walk into a ZESA branch with USD cash, that’s what would happen.

It’s the same when you use InnBucks or EcoCash, you’re not really using USD. They convert your USD to ZW$ at the interbank rate too and then process your transaction.

We reached out to ZESA and they told us,

We only charge RTGS for Domestic Customers but if you go and buy ZESA using USD we convert it to RTGS using the prevailing interbank rate on the day

When we asked about the InnBucks and EcoCash USD channels, they said,

They still convert to RTGS

This means there really isn’t a USD tariff schedule for domestic customers.

So, if you want to know how many units you will get for your USD, simply calculate how much your USD is worth in ZW$ using the interbank rate. Then simply input that ZW$ amount in the calculator below:

We will be updating the calculator so that you can just input the USD amount and get the answer.

The tariffs

If you want to know the data behind this, here are the tariffs as released on 31 July 2023.

per kWh
First 500-50kWh50kWh143.787,189.24
Next 5051-100kWh50kWh287.1614,357.81
Next 100101-200100kWh478.5947,858.67
Next 100201-300kWh100kWh670.0967,009.10
Next 100301-400kWh100kWh765.8276,581.53
Above 400813.68
  • FARMING – ZW$329.48/kWh
  • COMMERCIAL – ZW$767/kWh

ZESA said domestic users are not charged USD meaning some corporates/organisations are. We asked for those tariffs and got the following reply:

Kindly note that currently we do not have an official tariff schedule, however we can assist you to calculate an approximate figure, if you provide the number of units that you intend to purchase..

I know. What a ridiculous reply from the ZETDC National Contact Centre. We will update you when/if they locate it. What are they using to approximate? We would like to see that but we will have to wait, for now.

Also read:

ZESA is now certified to fix faults with drones. It’s not a silver bullet, more of an efficiency thing

Solar for Health project has saved lives, showing that ZESA has blood on its hands for its failures


What’s your take?

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  1. WaChindalo

    For domestic users, why it that we are not given a separate receipt for the USD paid for instead of just getting the units billed in ZW$? Is this system not open to abuse?

    1. TheGreat

      Mmmm. ‘Here’s what you need to know’…
      Personally i feel like the average guy will abuse this information. Instead of just buying Zesa token using the usd like he always did, he is gonna switch to black market then zesa token for the increased units per rtgs

  2. Hburoma@gmail.com

    Zesa also needs Us so they should
    allow us to buy straight from them using Us. Ot they can appoint me as their argent and I can sell for them in Us.

  3. Denford Chiguvare

    Thank you for the update. I feel if ZESA is really serious about improving its infrastructure they should offer competitive charges in USD. They must do away with bank rate.

  4. Boy

    Why is it that the higher the price the lower the units get. Can they explain that. For example 200 units cost around 32 000 but 200 units cost around 70 000

    1. Anonymous

      They can do better with competitive usd rates in line with street rates to keep value of their money.

  5. Robert Mugabe

    are there any zero rated sites available on econet network

  6. Tasiyana

    😥ndakuda hangu kuita farm amana ma farmers akushandisa getsi remahara kana ZW $329.48/KWhr is fixed charge

  7. Verbatim

    What’s happens to my charge when I finish purchasing the token of a $5 @ a rate that would change before I reach home to pin my token
    Since the rate is unstable like that

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