The Zambia Consumer Association-ZACA- has accused power utility company ZESCO Ltd of making electricity a luxury and not a necessity following the newly announced connection and service fees.
ZACA has since challenged the Energy Regulation Board-ERB- to prevail over the matter and ensure ZESCO connection fees do not disadvantage people in rural areas, the poor and those making ends meet through small businesses like saloons and barbershops.
ZESCO on Monday confirmed the removal of subsidies on electricity connection fees which has seen an upward adjustment from K1, 700 To K6, 995 for high-density un-demarcated townships and also an increase to the cost of meter separation from K750 to K6000.
In justifying the increase, ZESCO Senior Manager Corporate Affairs John Kunda explained that electricity connection charges have not been increased but that the company has just reverted to using non-subsidized rates in order to prevent the accumulation of a backlog of connections with standard connection fees halted until the ERB revisits the same.
But ZACA Executive Secretary Juba Sakala has dismissed explanations by ZESCO Ltd so far justifying the increase saying this decision is contradictory to government’s promise to run a green economy as expensive electricity connection fees will result in increased deforestation due to alternatives energy sources such as charcoal.