Zesco justifies tariff increase


ZESCO Limited says the proposed additional power charge for commercial customers will help improve generator output, which will in turn reduce load shedding.
In 1995, Zesco Limited proposed a 0.96 power factor surcharge to help the utility monitor how effectively the voltage being converted can be useful in production.

Zesco Limited senior manager-demand side management Readlay Makaliki, the company has given a one-year grace period to its maximum demand customer which includes industries, commercials, agriculture, social sector like water utility, among others to comply with the proposed 0.96 power factor surcharge or face punishment.
Mr Makaliki said, if well implemented, the initiative will help in reducing investment of reactive power compensating equipment, provide improved quality of supply and a drop in technical losses.
He said on Friday at the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) public hearing on Zesco Limited’s application to introduce a power surcharge which will encourage its commercial customers to use energy more efficiently.

During trials, Zesco Limited will provide customers with dummy bills to show the impact of the initiative if applied.
“Zesco Limited provided some amount of reactive power [non-productive] at no cost for voltage control purposes and to meet other statutory obligations, a grace period of one year for compliance as proposed. This is enough time for detailed energy audit, procurement and installation of power factor correction equipment.
“Customer sensitisation and energy audits will be intensified. Zesco Limited has conducted energy audits for power factor improvement at its own expense since 1995. However, response from maximum demand customers has been very poor,” he said.
Survey for customers audited between 2007 and 2011 revealed that out of 70 customers, only three implemented power factor correction measures.
Mr Makaliki said despite the initiatives, the power utility has continued with the load-management system due to depressed voltages, transmission and distribution reticulation bottlenecks.