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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

If only Bill 10 was about protecting Consumer rights not Political power

Headlines If only Bill 10 was about protecting Consumer rights not Political power
The Presentation of the Budget in ParliamentDear Editor,
Allow me to share the following thoughts in view of the storm raised by Bill 10.
How about introducing a law that empowers the citizenry or consumers to hold Utility Service Providers accountable?
This time it’s ZESCO. Next it could be a communication service provider, a water utility firm, a television service provider or a mobile service provider et cetera.
What if Bill 10 could deliberate on and include this issue which borders on consumers rights and not on political power?
At present, ZESCO seems to be an authority on its own. There’s no way we can continue enduring 18 hours of load shedding on a daily basis with the power being restored about 2300hrs and disconnected as early as 0530hrs.
With a certain number of verifiable appellants obtained either online or other, a Service Provider will be given chance to either attend to the consumers needs or face heavy penalties including loss of employment for top management, revocation of or suspending of an  operating license for long periods or other deterrent measures.
 That to be accompanied by a clause dictating that such matters will be heard and disposed of as a matter national emergency within say 14 working days by the Consumer Protection Unit or Judiciary.
If this is not done, we shall continue to have the likes of carefree service provision as exemplified by ZESCO. At present, ZESCO seems to be an authority on its own. There’s no way we can continue enduring 18 hours of load shedding on a daily basis with the power being restored about 2300hrs and disconnected as early as 0530hrs. The 5 to 6 hours window during which power is available is ill timed as most people will be sleeping. Let this be the last time we are allowing ourselves to be treated so unfairly.
We should consider taking certain powers to the served. This will force Service Providers to improve on delivery. Our legislators should focus on delivering on these essentials than simply worrying about ministers working during elections, government having power to suprintend over BOZ regarding printing of Kwacha, forming a coalition government with an unpopular party etc. These might be important but they should not cause us to lose sight of the other cardinal aspects of our daily lives like power or energy.
Seize the opportunity rendered by Bill 10. Or may this mark the beginning of this debate.
By Chalusa EM

5 COMMENTS

  1. Pf does not produce rains to help generate power. Even if upnd came into power Zambia will experience the same loadshedding. Unless zesco come up with the other means of supplying power Zambia will continue experiencing loadshedding. Research before you write something.

    • PF and lungu were commissioning power plants every month at one time, they have just spent $17 billion on infrastructure …….

      Poor excuse to be relying on rains for critical systems seeing we have almost 8 hours of stright sunshine 365 days of the year.. ..

    • Thats exactly the point. Unless ZESCO is held accountable to consumers, they will never come out with alternative source of power. As an individual I have installed solar power and borehole. I dont experience loadshedding and water shortage. Zesco cant continue blaming nature for its inefficiancy.

    • PM

      About 3 years ago we have been pushing PF GRZ to invest in a domestic solar power manufacturing industry to take 60 to 80 % of domestic power consumers off the zesco grid.
      We argued that consumers would have more money to spend on the economy and exports and jobs would be created by a solar manufacturing industry. Not to mention the use of Zambian copper.

      But because ZESCO is a milking cow of PF , they thought less money for PF when domestic consumers go solar.

      Fast forwrd to 2019 , now they are blaming HH and UPND for the loadshedding.

  2. That wouldn’t help as much, you see there is already the consumer charter and the consumer (rights) protection that exist.
    ZESCO has always abused its dominant market position of power and no one can do anything about it, not even us the consumers whose rights are violated. Part 83 of the THE COMPETITION AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT touches on some of the issues you’ve mentioned.

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