ZESCO plans to increase electricity tariffs by 20 per cent in September, a month after the August 11 elections, according to a presentation made to all water utilities last month.
According to an impeccable source who attended the presentation, Zesco is planning to hike power tariffs in a move that would see electricity costs go up for most consumers.
The hike is expected to immediately affect water utilities that are anticipated to also effect a water tariff increment following the adjustment.
“Zesco has already notified all the water utilities in Zambia. The notification was done last month. Being high electricity consumers, they have been notified that the rate for the new units for electricity will be adjusted upwards effective month-end of September ,” the source revealed.
“So, all the water utilities are aware that the tariffs and the bills, which they will receive will be adjusted by more than 20 per cent. You can challenge them to refute; this information was done through a presentation by Zesco to all the water utilities; they did not write memos, but they did presentations to justify why Zesco will be increasing the electricity tariffs.”
The source explained that the adjustment in power tariffs would inevitably hurt domestic consumers who would have to pay more.
“Given that scenario, the water utilities will also have to adjust the water bills. That cost Zesco is passing on to water utilities, they [in turn] will also pass it to the consumers. So, this is one of the challenges which will be effected soon after elections!” the source added.
“This [reduced] loadshedding has been cosmetic; we have been importing [electricity] at a very high rate and as a result, that has to be recovered. And by recovering it, Zesco has to get it mostly from water utilities because they are part of the high consumers, second from the mines.”
When contacted, Zesco public relations manager Henry Kapata said he was unaware of the presentation made to water utilities.
And NWASCO public relations manager Rose Tembo said the water tariff adjustments were only expected in January.
“If there are any tariffs that have to be increased, it is January, that is when [water] tariffs will be increased but the process starts in September where the utilities go out, talk to clients,” said Tembo.
The Energy Regulation Board (ERB), who will be expected to approve Zesco’s proposal, was unavailable for comment on the matter.