The Zambia Chamber of Mines (ZCM) says that the country’s power pricing must, of necessity, be determined in a transparent, objective and efficient manner.
The chamber notes that, as an industry body, it does not and cannot negotiate power tariffs for its individual members. Nonetheless, the ZCM welcomes the recent launch by the Energy Regulation Board of the Cost of Service study.
The chamber elaborates that the outcome of the study will form the basis of determining power tariffs in Zambia for the long term.
“The chamber is looking forward to being an active participant in this study, and we are happy that both the Ministry of Energy and the Energy Regulation Board are engaging with the industry in conducting this study,” states the ZCM.
The chamber emphasises that the question of power pricing is “vital to the economic future of Zambia”. It says that, as much as there is need for power to be priced at a level that adequately compensates investors in the sector, there must be a realisation that this must not be to the exclusion of other sectors in the economy, of which mining is one.
The ZCM comments that there must be a balance between the efficacy of electricity pricing and the affordability of the power produced in the country, as the chamber points out that it suits no one to have a power industry without a market for power because no one can afford it.
The ZCM mentions that it recognises the “critical importance” of this balance and will do everything possible to ensure that this remains the guiding principle of all power pricing decisions in Zambia. “After all, as the largest consumer of power, [the mining sector] stands to lose the most if the power industry in Zambia fails to perform.”
Against this background, the ZCM remarks that it is “folly” for some commentators to fuel a narrative that mines are somehow immune to current developments in the power sector.
“We remain confident that comprehensive, objective and rational debate, as promised by the ongoing study, backed up by genuine and active interaction among all stakeholders, is the best approach to resolving the future of power supply in Zambia.”