Invest in solar to mitigate power tariff hike, millers urged

Millers must invest in solar energy to mitigate the increase in electricity charges, says the Forum Energy Zambia chairperson, Johnstone Chikwanda.

Reacting to a request by the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) for a preferential tariff, Chikwanda said investment in solar energy was a long-term solution to the exorbitant power tariffs.

“Getting a preferential tariff would translate into government subsidising operations of millers. That is not possible because the intention is to remove these subsidies that have been a huge burden on the national treasury,” Chikwanda said.

The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has approved a 75% power hike proposed by ZESCO – 50% came into force on May 15, 2017. A further 20% would be effective September 2017.

MAZ president Andrew Chintala says a preferential power tariff would enable millers produce cheaper mealie-meal. He has argued that the bumper harvest benefit of reducing the price of mealie-meal had been undone by the huge power tariff hike.

Chikwanda said the massive power hike demanded creative solutions for millers and other energy consumers. According to him, millers could enter into lease agreements with solar providers to mitigate the set up costs.

“A service provider can install solar energy on the premises and the miller rents it at a fee. This is cheaper than paying Zesco tariffs,” he said.


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