ZESCO has refuted reports that it will effect a 200 percent electricity tariff hike starting October 1st, 2019 to facilitate the planned importation of power from Eskom of South Africa.
The story was first reported by the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) that the period for the increase will only be for six months of the power importation aimed at mitigating load shedding following a decline in power generation necessitated by low water levels.
After the story was picked up by many social media outlets, ZESCO decided to issues the statement below. ZNBC has since taken down the story.
In a statement, ZESCO Director of Commercial and Customer Service Mr. Chiti Mataka said ZESCO regrets the apprehension and anxiety that this misinformation may have caused to customers and the general public.
“Zesco Limited would like to clarify media reports circulating on social media insinuating that the Corporation will institute hike of 200% effective 1st October 2019,” Mr Mataka said.
“The briefing that was held on Tuesday 24th September 2019 was aimed at informing the nation on the status of the power deficit that the country is experiencing and the intervention that the Corporation has put in place to mitigate the same.”
“Key amongst these interventions to mitigate the power deficit, is the planned importation of 300 MW of power from ESKOM of South Africa at a landed cost of approximately $22million per month.”
He said the modalities of how this intervention will be implemented is being worked out between ZESCO and the Government.
“As explained during the same media briefing of Tuesday 24th September 2019, the power importation program is separate from the general tariff adjustment application which is undertaken through the regulatory body, the Energy Regulation Board (ERB). It is the sole preserve of the ERB to consider any electricity pricing adjustments for regulated entities, that include ZESCO.”
“With the reference to the power importation program, ZESCO wishes to advise that in order to support it with sufficient liquidity, it has applied to ERB that an appropriate cost-sharing mechanism be put in place.”
He said the mechanism will run over the duration of the importation program only.
“ZESCO therefore regrets the apprehension and anxiety that this misinformation may have caused to our esteemed customers and the general public.”