Zambian President Edgar Lungu
Zambian President Edgar Lungu

Meanwhile stakeholders have welcomed the government’s decision to revert to old electricity tariffs.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu
Zambian President Edgar Lungu

Last month, the country’s energy regulator, the Energy Regulation Board, announced a sharp increase in electricity tariffs following an application by power utility, Zesco Limited.

The average price of electricity was raised to 10.3 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour from 6 cents per kilowatt hour.

However consumers protested the increase and launched a “No Vote” campaign against the governing party during this year’s general elections. The campaign called Citizenship Alliance for Fair Zesco Tariffs, which started on social media attracted both commercial and domestic consumers.

But Presidential spokesperson Amos Chanda said Lungu has ordered for the reversal of the tariffs because of the outcry from the consumers.

“The president acknowledges that the consumers have been hard hit by the economic challenges which include the cost of living going up due to the depreciation of the kwacha and also that consumers protection associations had made submissions against the increment,” he is quoted saying by the Zambia Daily Mail.

The official however said commercial customers will have to pay more than domestic consumers.

Last week, the country’s energy regulator announced that it had instituted investigations to verify new electricity tariffs following an outcry from consumers that the tariffs were too high.

Meanwhile consumer watchdog, the Zambia Consumer Association said it is happy that the government had listened to the cries of the majority of poor consumers and reversed the tariffs.

Juba Sakala, the consumer group’s spokesperson said it was evident that the cost of electricity had become too high and that many consumers were not able to afford the high cost.

Maybin Nsupila, the chief executive officer of the Zambia Association of Manufacturers said the reversal of the tariffs will save manufacturing companies which were on the verge of collapsing.

According to him, the migration to cost-reflective tariffs should have been done in a phased and gradual approach.

But critics have described the move as a manifestation of policy inconsistency by the current government.

The Zambian leader recently told the energy regulator to increase the tariffs and appealed to consumers to embrace the new tariffs as cost-reflective tariffs will guarantee meaningful investment in the energy sector. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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