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Electricity tariffs go up

 

Bereng Mpaki

Consumers will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for electricity starting today.

This development comes after the Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority (LEWA) allowed the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) to hike electricity charges by between 12.2 and 12.6 percent—a move that increases pressure on consumers already grappling with high food and fuel prices.

LEC had applied for a tariff increase of 25.4 percent to cover its revenue requirement of M819.54 million for the 2016/17 financial year. The application did not request any change in connection, wiring testing, wiring re-testing, survey, re-survey, meter-testing and licensing for wiring charges.

Among the reasons LEC cited for the proposed hike were the increasing costs of importing electricity and higher operating expenses.

However, LEWA board chairman, Dr Leboli Thamae, on Friday announced the approval of between 12.2 and 12.4 percent for energy charges (general purpose) and 12.6 percent for maximum demand charges (commercial).

Dr Thamae said LEC’s request for a 25.4 percent tariff hike and revenue requirement of M819.54 million was “inadequate and unjustified”, adding the approved revenue requirement was M755.32 million. He said the approved revenue would be used for, among others, bulk costs of M367.2 million to buy electricity from suppliers as well as repair and maintenance costs of M31.4 million.

M1.43 million would be used for fuel and oil generators at Semonkong, while M100 million would be for taking care of depreciation costs.

Meanwhile, during the 2015/16 financial year, LEC requested an 18.32 percent increase for all its different customer categories. However, LEWA only allowed the charges to be increased by a maximum of seven percent.

 

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