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Cost of Service Study ready by month-end, says ERB

[By Mast Correspondent]

THE Energy Regulation Board says the Cost of Service Study is expected to be concluded by the end of this month.

Dispelling assertions that the much-anticipated study was released and circulated on social media, ERB acting director for consumer and public affairs Nasima Shaikh announced that the Zesco Benchmarking Report, which was prepared by the initially contracted consultants – Economic Consulting Associates (ECA) – did not constitute the final outcome of the Study.

This followed a report purportedly meant to be the study that circulated on social media recently.

Shaikh, however, insisted that the actual study results would be availed later this month.

“…As it may be recalled, the said report was initially the subject of discussion in July, 2019. It has yet again resurfaced circulating on social media where it is being purported to represent the final results of the ongoing Electricity Cost of Service Study, which is nearing completion. As we stated earlier in 2019 and wish to reiterate now, the said report was a working draft that was not approved prior to the mutual decision in July, 2018, to separate with ECA. We, therefore, wish to advise that the report in circulation is not the official ERB approved Cost of Service Study report,” explained Shaikh. “It must be emphasised that following the separation with ECA, the ERB proceeded to engage the Energy Market Regulatory Consultants (EMRC) of the UK in 2019 to progress the study and see it to its final conclusion. With the EMRC having now submitted draft reports on all 10 tasks, the Study is expected to be concluded by end-2021.”

The much-anticipated Cost of Service Study, which is still required to establish cost-reflective tariffs, had stalled following the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, with the appointed consultant only having completed just 25 per cent of the overall tasks 12 months ago.

It has faced repeated suspensions in the last three years, first because of the appointment of a new consultant to complete it, and more recently because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its delay had resulted in Zesco Limited’s controversial tariff application, approved by the ERB in December, 2019.

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