Zesco has applied to the ERB to increase electricity tariffs by an average 26 per cent across all customer categories.
During the Energy Regulation Board Review Meeting in Lusaka this morning, they rejected the proposed ZESCO tariff hike on the basis that increase is unfair in the sense that not all Zambians can afford to pay the proposed tariffs.
They argued that already most people are struggling to pay the current tariffs.
Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) representative, Dr. Evelyn Nguleka says farmers are very concerned by the proposed increase in the tariffs as this will result in the increased cost of production.
She says if farmers can incur that cost, they will pass it on to consumers thereby making life difficult for everyone.
Dr.Nguleka says it is difficult for farmers to accept the increment in tariffs because it is only working to the advantage of the supplier, ZESCO.
But ZESCO has maintained that it will increase the electricity tariffs for residential consumers.
ZESCO Managing Director, Cyprian Chitundu says ZESCO is focused on bringing development to the nation through giving the service that benefits both the company and the consumers.
Mr. Chitundu says ZESCO is strongly opposed to the pro life line tariffs for the first 100 units of residential consumption which most members of the public proposed.
And speaking at the same public hearing, Energy Regulation Board Chairperson Dr. George Chabwera says ZESCO has stated their case regarding their plans and how tariffs adjustment is a critical part in their growth strategy.
Dr. Chabwera says this is an opportunity for consumers to review the whole ZESCO operations and whether they are getting value and what else must be done to improve the situation.
He says being connected to electricity improves the standards of living and if Zambia is to attain its goal of being a middle in-come country by 2030, most of its households must be connected to electricity.