Former General Secretary National Energy Sector and Allied Workers Union (NESAWU) Yotham Mtayachalo has appealed to the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) to consider scrapping the monthly fixed charge ZESCO charges on all electricity accounts.
And Mtayachalo has called for the adjustment upward of the life line tariff structure in order to cushion economically vulnerable consumers from the current 200KWh to a higher bracket.
He said this is as the result of the anticipated hike in electricity tariffs following the decision by the government to import power which is aimed at mitigating the energy crisis the country is experiencing.
“I feel that the fixed charge cannot be justified because it is just pushing up the already high cost of electricity in the country to unmanageable levels and as such the power utility must explain the justification behind such charges which are a burden to electricity consumers,” Mtayachalo said.
He said the importation of electricity will undoubtedly come at a great cost to electricity consumers as there is no doubt that the cost of doing business and basic needs such as mealie meal shall again go up.
Mtayachalo who is Forum for Democracy and Development Chairperson for Labour said government should also consider suspending or reviewing downwards taxes charged on electricity bills such as excise duty and Value added tax (VAT) as a relief to consumers against the high cost of imported electricity.
“It is not long ago when ZESCO was allowed to increase electricity tariffs by unprecedented 75% more importantly because salaries for most workers particularly public sector workers have remained static,” He added.
Mtayachalo said it is unfortunate that despite such a huge increase in electricity tariffs in 2017, ZESCO is still facing a financial challenge which is quite disappointing.