Written by on April 27, 2019

THE planned 91 per cent increase in electricity tariffs by ZESCO for domestic consumers could be a serious power trip for many and it is something that needs to be discussed further.

We think the apparent antiphon to this uncanny turn of events is that more people will turn to charcoal for their energy needs and that means more trees will have to be cut down for this purpose.

This proposed increase has potential to turn many Zambians into charcoal users, at the time when the country is trying to fight climate change.

With deforestation, Zambia can as well forget about  the all-important  rain cycle which bring rains or water to turn ZESCO turbines wherever they have been installed.

Undoubtedly ZESCO may have good reasons for its move but perhaps it is the percentage increase which   many Zambians are objecting to because it might change their kind of life.

We think ZESCO should listen to the concerns of the people, especially the manufacturing industries.

Its power consumers who may appear the low people on the totem pole, but at the end, it is them who have to pay the utility company this kind of money they are asking for. Don’t they deserve a hearing?

Whether or not ZESCO will admit it, power consumption by the ordinary Zambians will slump to dangerous levels because they will no longer afford it. This is the naked truth.

There are many Zambians running cottage industries either in townships or industrial areas who depend on electricity to run their businesses which will now come to an absolute halt in the face of these highly immoderate power tariffs.

Commercial consumers too will not be amused either and ultimately it is our national economy which will kneel down in total shame, not to talk about farmers some of who run expensive irrigation equipment which depend on electricity.

The same is true for livestock farmers such as poultry who heavily rely on power to produce quality birds to meet the demands of the available markets.

It is also worthwhile to note that the increase is coming at the time when Zambia is faced with a severe drought which will result in a drop of power generation to be confirmed by incessant load shedding which appears to be already in force although ZESCO won’t admit it.

Whether ZESCO actually deserves this astronomic raise in tariffs or not, perhaps it is for our Energy Regulation Board (ERB) alone to tell and decide.

This is because many organisations in Zambia have always been in the bad habit of raising prices for their commodities or services to cover up for their performances.

Our appeal therefore is to ERB to trade cautiously on this issue which has all the potential to backfire and complicate people’s lives and asphyxiate the economy at large. A stitch in time saves nine later.

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