Energy Minister David Mabumba says no amount of blackmail will deter government from implementing the cost reflective electricity tariffs.

At a media briefing in Lusaka today, Mabumba appealed to the three mines to abide by the new electricity tariffs.

“It does not make sense for these firms to fail to abide by the new tariffs when domestic users are paying. Mopani is not paying, Kalumbila is not paying, Kansanshi is not paying, those mines that are not paying, we will give them the amount of power equivalent to the new tariff at 9.3 cents and it is as a result of that we have restricted, for example what I have here, Kalumbila, they are supposed to be getting 155 MegaWatts, Zesco has restricted to 110 Megawatts, Kansanshi they are supposed to be getting 187 MegaWatts, we have restricted to 133 MegaWatts. Mopaniare supposed to be getting 190 MegaWatts, they are getting 94 MegaWatts,” said Mabumba.

“There is no one person who will be given special consideration. If the other customers are paying, why should we be subsidizing to the industry? I think it will be very unfair. The mines that are not paying, they want to blackmail government, our considered view is that we don’t want this restriction of power to have an impact in the economy but obviously if this continues, it might have.”

And at the same briefing, Zesco director transmission Webster Musonda said it was unfortunate that the mines were refusing to pay despite having committed to do so.

On Friday, Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) began restricting power supply to the three mines, forcing Mopani to send home some of its employees.

A court hearing to resolve the dispute is scheduled for this Thursday.