ZAMBIA’s low electricity tariff has contributed to the deterioration of the quality of power supply and lack of investment in the energy sector, says energy deputy minister Charles Zulu.
Mr Zulu said there was need to increase tariffs to cost reflective levels which would gradually attract investment in the sector.
He was speaking at the official opening of the 39th executive committee (EXCO) of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) hosted by member utilities of Zambia; ZESCO, Copper Energy Corporation (CEC) and Lunsemfwa Hydro Power Company (LHPC) in Lusaka.
SAPP hold its EXCO meetings twice a year and rotates among member countries.
The objectives of SAPP, among others, are to increase power accessibility in rural communities, implement strategies in support of sustainable development.
It also enforces common regional standards of quality of supply, measure monitoring of systems performance.
Mr Zulu said most SADC members were in the process of gradually increasing tariffs to cost reflective levels to improve service delivery and attract investment in the sector.
“We have heard that the low tariff have contributed to the deterioration of the quality of power supply characterised by lack of investments,
“Most SADC countries are in the process to gradually increase tariffs to cost reflective levels which will improve service delivery to the customers,” he said.
He said it was unfortunate that whenever ZESCO tried to increase power tariffs, politicians used it against the current Government to de-campaign the ruling political party.
Mr Zulu said it was about time when politicians learnt to put interests of citizens ahead of their personal gains.
“The problem is when ZESCO tries to increase the tariffs, politicians, will be against it and start campaigning. It’s important to put forward national interests for the good of everyone in the region and country,” he said.
Mr Zulu hoped that the SAPP conference would bring about new ideas on how the energy crisis in the Southern region would be dealt with.
He said it was possible for the region to come out of the crisis if all member countries utilized their available resources.
“Putting our heads together we will get out of this looking at what member countries resources have, all we need to do it to come up with new initiatives and ideas by involving everyone,” he said.
Speaking earlier, ZESCO acting managing director Best Phiri said the idea of the conference was to exchange ideas on how best the power deficit could be dealt with.
Mr Phiri said ZESCO was looking forward to when power challenges would be a thing of the past.
“We are here to review the success of SAPP and exchange ideas of how best the power crisis can be dealt with,” he said.