ERB explains recent increase in power tariffs

THE Energy Regulation Board (ERB) says it had to hike ZESCO electricity tariffs to attract and promote investment in the energy sector, says director for consumer and public affairs Agnes Phiri .

Ms Phiri said it was the energy projects that were badly needed to address the critical power deficit which caused the enhanced load shedding for all customer categories.

The ERB was carrying out its mandate of balances and interests of stakeholders and in considering the recent tariff application found it necessary to grant ZESCO an increase.

“Regrettably, after the necessary analysis, the ERB had to hike the tariffs because it has a responsibility to ensure that Zesco has sufficient revenue to invest in generation projects that are desperately needed to address the critical power deficit which has resulted in enhanced load shedding for all customer  categories, the ERB is carrying out its mandate balances the interests of stakeholders and in considering the recent tariff application found it necessary to grant ZESCO an increase,’’ she said.

She said it must be noted that the government was paying colossal sums of money to import emergency power to cushion the impact of load shedding.

Ms Phiri urged industries and households to collectively adopt energy conservation practices such as sparingly use of geysers especially during the period when temperatures were high.

She also appealed to those with alternatives of energy such as solar geysers and gas stoves to put them in use.

“Be prudent in the use of power when cooking foodstuffs such as beans, dry fish which take long to prepare on the stove, for those who can afford use alternative sources of energy for cooking and heating such as solar geysers and use gas stoves’’, Ms Phiri advised.

She said the board had embarked on a verification exercise to determine whether Zesco limited had implemented new electricity in accordance with the board approval.

She explained said all households using electricity for commercial ventures such as operating salons, barber shops and welding centres should expect that it would inevitably push their consumption into the higher residential consumption band which would cost more.

“In order to mitigate the impact of the tariff increase on residential customers, the ERB increased the lifeline band from 100 to 300 kilo watt hours (kwh) per month, tariffs for this consumption band have changed from the energy charge of 15 ngwee per kWh and fixed charge of k18.23, however, consumption beyond 300kWh per month will be charged at a higher tariff ok k1.54 for the energy charge and k18.23 as the fixed charge,’’ she explained.

She said that through its economic regulation department the ERB would examine receipts from a cross section of consumers, who submitted their receipts to their offices in Chinsali, Kitwe, Livingstone and Lusaka.

The board further urged ZESCO to sensitize its customers on the new tariffs and how it would impact their spending.

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