By KETRA KALUNGA
STAKEHOLDERS have rejected Zesco Limited’s proposed increment in connection fees from K1, 709 to K6, 930 and have suggested that the charges be reduced and paid in installments.
Zesco proposed new connection fees to the Energy Regulation Board from the current K1, 709 to K6, 930 for 1 Phase overhead, K3, 159 to K20, 250 3 Phase overhead and K3, 642 to K24, 557 3 Phase underground.
CUTS International Zambia Programes Officer Jane Zulu submitted during a public hearing held in Lusaka yesterday that the proposed fees were too high for an average Zambian.
Ms. Zulu said the proposed new connection fees should be reduced and consumers be allowed to pay gradually so that they adapt to the new cost.
“Zesco should also carry out periodic reviews and raise awareness to explain to consumers why connection fees are being raised,” she said.
University of Zambia academician, Chishimba Chombe also submitted that the proposed increment was too high because Zambians are struggling with the high cost of living.
He urged Zesco management to be prudent in managing resources at their disposal to improve service delivery.
A senior citizen, Mr Syalike Nasilele of Nalolo said Zambians are already over stretched with the high cost of living, high cost of transportation and lack of medicines to add to the high connection fees.
Mr. Nasilele submitted that the number of staff at Zesco should be reduced for the power utility company to be viable.
Zesco Limited board chairperson Vicson Nc’ube said contrary to reports, the proposed increment in connection fees was not a source of income to clear the backlog of about 67, 000 connections.
Mr. Nc’ube said the power utility has been looking for other sources of money to clear the backlog which has since reduced to about 10, 000.
And ERB board chairperson, Reynolds Bowa commended stakeholders for making submissions on the proposed new connection fees.