The Sunday News
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) says it expects fuel prices to decline by a further 2 to 3 US cents next month.
The regulatory authority said the current decline in oil prices globally should have a positive effect on the country’s fuel prices.
Addressing journalists at a breakfast meeting, Zera chief executive officer Gloria Magombo said they expect the prices to fall by next year as new stock comes in.
“The fuel distributors are getting new stock, so we expect that the new stock will come in at a lower price so the price will continue going down,” she said.
She added that consumers deserve the best deals available to them, even if the decline is a marginal one.
“Even if it means getting another 2 cents or 3 cents, taken off the price, let it come to the people because that is where it should be,” she said.
On the international market, crude oil has slumped about a quarter since Saudi Arabia led a decision last month by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to maintain its collective output target.
And today, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) – the United States grade crude oil – for January delivery rose stood at around $55,50 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Meanwhile, Magombo also said the authority is working towards reducing the rate at which illegally blended fuels are being sold, as the levels have risen this year.
“Diesel adulteration with paraffin and selling unblended petrol were the main offenses encountered and the reduction in the 2014 compliance rate was mainly a result of unblended petrol being sold by fuel dealers,” said Magombo.
She said close to 10 companies peddling the unauthorised fuel blends have been discovered and arraigned.
“A total of nine fuel companies were prosecuted and convicted in 2014,” she said.
Magombo said the renewable energy feed in tariff (REFIT) scheme that Zera has constructed to improve regulation of power utilities is still under review.
“Zera has developed the renewable energy feed in tariff (REFIT) scheme which is meant to promote RE projects up to a maximum capacity of 10MW. The project awaits government approval,” she said.
REFIT is a policy instrument that mandates power utilities operating the national grid to purchase electricity from renewable energy sources at a pre-determined price so as to stimulate investment in the renewables sector.
She added that the problems currently facing the country’s industrial sector can be significantly alleviated through proper energy regulation measures.
“We need to work on energy efficiency measures and because industry is operating below capacity they are consuming more power.
“Reducing the cost of production can be attained through efficient energy saving measures. Energy efficiency is critical for the production sector,” she said. – BH24.