The Energy Regulation Board says it shall consider written submissions from members of the public and hold a hearing on the proposed 75 per cent electricity tariffs increment.

In a statement today, ERB Director Consumer and Public Affairs Agnes Phiri confirmed that the board received an application from Zesco to permit it to increase tariffs in May and September.

“The Energy Regulation Board has received an application to vary electricity tariffs by Zesco Limited with effect from 1st May 2017. In its application, Zesco proposes to increase electricity tariffs by 75 per cent on average in two phases starting with 50 per cent on 1st May and a further 25 per cent in September. Following the ZESCO application the ERB will now proceed to consider the proposed tariff increases in line with the provision of the Law that governs electricity tariffs determination, particularly as specified in the electricity Act, chapter 435 of the laws of Zambia, as amended by Act No.21 of 2003 (the Electricity Act),” Phiri stated.

“The ERB shall therefore be receiving written submissions from the public in view of the ZESCO application within the next 30 days as stipulated by the law. Further, the ERB shall convene a public hearing to consider submissions from the members of the pubic, if all any would have been received within the 30-day period.”

Phiri also said with regards to mining companies, ERB would approve power purchase agreements which had been agreed between ZESCO and its mining customers.

She noted that Zesco had suspended implementation of tariff increases averaging 187 per cent after consultations with stakeholders.

“In August 2015, ZESCO had applied for a tariff increase averaging 187 per cent for all its customer category except the mines, which was granted by the ERB effective December 2015. However, following consultations with key stakeholders, in January 2016 ZESCO suspended the implementation of the tariffs awarded by ERB,” stated Phiri.

“The withdrawal of the new tariffs were based the need to allow for a smooth transition from the old tariffs to the new ones. ZESCO notified the public that it would reapply for a tariff increase once consultations had been concluded. Therefore, the new application comes after conclusion of that consultation process.”