The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has called for maximum utilisation of the Rural Filling Station Specification Standard to increase the construction of filling stations in far flung fuel deficit areas.
ERB Consumer and Public Affairs Director Agnes Phiri said the Specification Standard of 2007 provides for minimised costs of setting up filling stations in rural areas.
Mrs Phiri said government has created an enabling environment to increase construction of filling stations at a low cost without comprising safety, health, environment and production quality measures.
She also disclosed that government through the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development has embarked on a national programme to construct filling stations in fuel deficit areas.
The ERB Consumer and Public Affairs Director said the initiative will facilitate for the construction of filling stations in rural areas such as Mwinilunga, Kabompo and others that have been operating without fuel service stations.
Meanwhile Mrs Phiri said the board is aware of the high cost of fuel in the country and is working out measures to reduce fuel costs by reducing costs in the fuel supply chain to arrive at a most cost efficient option.
She noted that there are a number of factors that influence fuel prices which includes international crude oil, transport costs, taxes and the exchange rate of the local currency among others.
Mrs Phiri further disclosed that the Ministry of Finance is in consultation with stakeholders such as the government line ministry, ERB, INDENI Petroleum Refinery Company, TAZAMA Pipelines and the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to embark on a programme to review all components of the fuel supply chain.
She explained that the key areas under consideration include the rehabilitation of INDENI and TAZAMA, the fuel tax regime, and the assessment of fuel supply options as well as transport costs.
She also said energy saving bulbs have positively contributed to the efforts of cushioning the current power shortage that the country is experiencing.
Mrs Phiri disclosed that power consumption has reduced by approximately 50 mega watts in the first phase of the energy saving bulb exchange programme which was conducted by the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO).
She estimated that about one million energy saving bulbs have been exchanged for incandescent bulbs since the inception of the program.
Mrs. Phiri further said ERB supports this initiative because energy consumers are motivated to conserve energy and also spend less on electricity.