ZESCO says customers should prudently consume electricity because units can only get depleted when there is consumption.

In the past few days, Netizens have been complaining that their electricity units are depleting faster than usual, wondering whether there had been a secret change in the billing system.

In an interview, Zesco public relations manager Hazel Zulu said the only reason customers felt like units were getting depleted faster is because they were mostly home.

“I have seen that complaint all over social media that the units are depleting fast but people need to understand that depletion can only happen where there is consumption, so it means that they are basically consuming that power that is being depleted,” Zulu said.

“And probably they also need to appreciate that we have gone into the cold season and power consumption or usage drastically increases in most households. So people need to just try and be prudent, just the way they are using their appliances in the home, especially with regards switching them off completely, they shouldn’t leave their appliances on standby mode because they will still be consuming anyway. If your TV for instance is on standby mode, it will be consuming power and of course you know that with this cold weather, maybe they are switching on their geysers for longer periods than they usually do. So those again are areas where they can improve in terms of consumption.”

She insisted that claims that the units were depleting abnormally were unfounded.

“And also, currently because of the Covid, most people stay at home. You find that most stay at home and mostly when they have power, the usage will be slightly higher than in times where some of us are at work. But the issue of saying depletion, why is it depleting fast, I think shouldn’t arise, it can only deplete in relation to the consumption,” Zulu said.

She advised people to study the new tariff structure so that they could appreciate how units were priced.

“And I think the other important this is that we need to understand our tariff structures, residential tariff structures. You know that we have three categories within the residential tariff structure? If you buy power for instance for the first time in the month, you will buy at a lower tariff than the second time that you buy power within the same month. For instance, if you buy power today for the first time in this month, you will buy it at 47 ngwee per unit, the first 100 units, you need to get it correctly and that 47 is exclusive of taxes like the VAT and the excise duty. So if you add VAT and excise duty you will be buying at 56 ngwee per unit, the first 100 units. If you deplete those units within the month and then within the month you buy the next units, you will be buying them in another band at another cost,” said Zulu.

“For instance, you buy the first 100 units on the second then maybe on the second of June, you try to buy more electricity, you will be buying in residential two band so in that case, you will be buying your units at 85 ngwee per unit, that is the next 101 to 300 units, but that’s exclusive if tax, if you add it will come to K1.1. And if you buy for a third time within the month you will now go to the R3 tariff. So in that tariff, from 301 plus units, you will be buying at K1.54 per unit so that’s again exclusive of tax, if you include the taxes it will go to about K2.31 per unit.”