EFZ support mines electricity tariffs hike

As dialogue over electricity subsidy extended to the extractive industry drag on, Energy Forum Zambia (EFZ) has challenged miners to compare local tariffs to prices paid in the region.

“We are challenging the Zambia Chamber of Mines to bring in public domain tariffs obtained in other countries where there is mining activity and compare with what they have been getting in Zambia,” said Johnstone Chikwanda, the Forum Chairperson.

The Forum’s plea comes on the backdrop of some mining companies resisting paying the new charges.

Some operators allege their companies are not been benefitting from electricity subsidies.

The development is already expected to put a dent on the country’s copper production forecast.

In August, government revised electricity tariffs and mining companies’ tariffs has been hiked to 9.3 cents per kilowatt hour.

Chikwanda said Zambia has been importing electricity at more than US12 cents and also buying from local independent power producers at the same price.

“The mines should, therefore, inform the public how much they have been paying,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zesco Limited says the new tariff adjustment will enable the company to complete power projects and also achieve its aspiration to become a hub of electricity in the region.

Henry Kapata, Zesco’s spokesperson is on record highlighting that the company is working on various power projects to improve the country’s power situation.

Last year, EFZ said ZESCO should increase tariffs to deal with prolonged loadshedding.

The Forum is of the view that there is some electricity in the Southern Power Pool which can be imported to reduce the prolonged load shedding currently being experienced in Zambia.

However, ZESCO is unable to import more expensive electricity which in turn will be sold at a loss in Zambia.

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