ZESCO spent over US$502 million on power imports in 2016, a company employee has revealed.
And Zesco has revealed that it is still in discussions with the African Development Bank (AfDB) for a loan to improve its liquidity but indicates that its balance sheet is at US$1.4 billion.
During a community interaction held at New Fairmount Hotel on Wednesday, Mwelwa Chibesakunda, who is Zesco’s principal business analyst, said there was urgent need to increase tariffs so as to improve the company’s liquidity.
“We spent US$502 million in power purchases last year at the rate of US$1 per 11 kilowatt,” Chibesakunda said.
He further said the application to increase tariffs to 75 per cent would see Zesco first implement 50 per cent of the increase effective May, with the additional one per cent until the 75 per cent is met.
And Zesco commercial manager Namakau Chifwala said in 2016, the utility’s call centre received over 2.9 million calls and that the facility would soon be expanded from the existing 30 seating capacity to 80.
And Zesco public relations officer Henry Kapata said to upgrade a power station from five to 10 KW, US$45 million was required.
Asked by Dominic Mulwisa, a lodge owner, about abuse in the power utility, Kapata said all places were clients of Zesco.
“Even bars are clients of Zesco, so if you see a Zesco vehicle parked at a bar, it is because they are our clients; when you see a Zesco vehicle at a hospital, it is not because a worker is sick, but because the hospital is our client,” said Kapata.