The African Consumers Union (ACU) is opposed to the application by the power utility company ZESCO to increase electricity tariffs by an average of 75 percent.
The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has confirmed that ZESCO has applied to increase electricity tariffs by an average of 75 percent with effect from 1st May, 2017.
ACU First Vice President Muyunda Ililonga says Zambian Consumers should not be burdened with other high costs as they are already bearing the high cost of living.
Mr. Ililonga says government must realize that the people are already struggling to survive.
Yesterday, an Energy expert Johnstone Chikwanda backed plans by ZESCO to increase electricity tariffs by 75 percent, saying the measure will boost the country’s capacity to produce and supply power sustainably.
Mr Chikwanda, who is also Energy Forum Zambia chairperson, said ZESCO’s migration to cost reflective tariffs would significantly cut Government electricity subsidies, enabling the Treasury to channel resources to other needy sectors.
ZESCO has applied to the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) to hike electricity tariffs up to 75 percent across various consumer categories, with an initial 50 percent increment to be effected on May 1, this year and additional 25 percent on September 1, this year.
ERB has since responded that it is considering ZESCO’s application which the power utility has said was necesitated by the need for the country to attract investment in power generation sector.
Mr Chanda said without energy sector reforms, it would also be difficult for the country to attain the United Nations sustainable development goal number seven on universal access to clean, sustainable and affordable electricity by 2030.
“Zambia’s electrification rate still remains one of the lowest in the world although it has been improving,” Mr Chikwanda said.
“This is more the reason energy sector reforms must be supported”.
He said the amount in subsidies Government had been spending on electricity has gone to supporting industries more than households, hence the subventiin had not significantly assisted in increasing access to electricity at household level.