(In paragraph 2, removes reference to price rises for retail
customers being backdated to Jan. 1 and clarifies phasing of the
LUSAKA May 10 Zambia's Energy Regulation Board
has approved a 75 percent increase in the price of electricity
for retail customers in 2017, acting Chairman Francis Yamba said
The first 50 percent will be effective from May 15 and the
remainder of the rise will be implemented on Sept. 1.
In January last year Zambia's president reversed a sharp
increase in electricity tariffs aimed at generating revenue for
investment in additional supply, saying the hike had ended up
hurting the poor.
Yamba said Zesco Ltd was still negotiating a proposed
electricity price increase with mining companies with whom it
had long-term agreements.
Zambia plans to introduce a flat electricity tariff of 9.30
U.S. cents/kilowatt hour (kWh) backdated to January for mining
companies, instead of individually negotiated rates that have
averaged 6 U.S. cents/kWh, the state power firm said on April
Energy Minister David Mabumba said in April some mining
firms opposed the rise and talks with them were continuing.
Mining companies operating in Zambia include Canada's First
Quantum Minerals, Swiss commodities giant Glencore
and London-listed Vedanta Resources.
In 2015 and 2016, Zambia experienced a critical shortage of
power of up to 600 megawatts (MW) due poor rainfall and growing
demand and supply has remained shaky, according to Zesco data.
(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by James Macharia and Edmund