ZESCO 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 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.
ZESCO Director Strategy and Corporate Services Patrick Mwila, however, said that the tariff hike will vary for individual costs depending on spending brackets, adding that importation will mean available power in the country will increase by 300 megawatts.
Mr. Mwila disclosed this at a media briefing in Lusaka.
And ZESCO Acting Managing Director Webster Musonda said the imported power with cost 22 Million United States dollars monthly which will be passed on to consumers.
Mr Musonda said that Zambia’s power deficit has risen to 690 megawatts from 425 megawatts in August and about 265 in June.
Mr. Musonda said the current water levels are the worst in almost 25 years, standing at 19.3 percent in the Kariba dam when it was at 79.3 percent this time last year.
Mr. Musonda said there is the need for ZESCO to seriously manage its generation capacity so that its ability to generate power for the first two months of 2020 in case the rainfall pattern will be bad.
Mr Musonda has also allayed allegations by some people claiming that the newly installed turbines use up more water saying they are actually more efficient.
Mr. Musonda revealed that Lunsemfwa Hydro of Central Province which was feeding about 50 megawatts into ZESCO has completely shut down operations because of lack of water.
He has however stated that new investments are expected to bring on board more power by early next year while some long term investments are being made by ZESCO and private investments worth millions of dollars which will make power supply more stable.
And, ZESCO Director Commercial and Customer Services Chiti Mataka said the utility company is not using the power importation to sneak in increased tariffs.
He said the company will only increase for six months to have the liquidity to fund the importation.