CONSUMERS will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for electricity with effect from tomorrow.
This after the Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority (LEWA) granted the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) permission to hike electricity charges by 10, 37 percent.
This means that household customers will now have to fork out M0, 80 for a unit of electricity up from M0, 73 per unit.
LEC had applied for a tariff increase of 31 percent for the 2021/22 financial year to cushion its operations as prices for its key inputs have increased.
The state-owned utility company in its 2021/22 tariff review application to LEWA highlighted that it will need a minimum of M1, 241 billion to finance its operations.
However, LEWA chairperson Rebohile Mosito this week said the LEC would only be granted a 10, 37 percent increment to enable it to generate M1, 07 billion instead of the M1, 241 billion it had hoped to make.
“The LEC submitted a tariff application in which it requested a revenue requirement of M1, 241 billion and a resultant tariff increase of 30, 9 percent for the 2021/22 financial year,” Mr Mosito told journalists in Maseru.
“Tariff reviews are conducted to ensure that regulated utilities charge appropriate tariffs to collect sufficient revenue to enable reliable and efficient operations at affordable charges.”
Mr Mosito said in determining the new tarrifs, LEWA had considered several factors including the prevailing socio-economic environment, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the affordability of electricity tariffs by customers.
He said on the basis of the information presented to it by the LEC and the public, they found no justification for granting the increment sought by the power utility.
“In line with the existing Covid-19 regulations and restrictions, LEWA requested stakeholders to submit written views, facts and evidence on the tariff application via social media platforms.
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“Among other things, LEWA took into consideration that the increment that it approved will be sufficient for the LEC to operate effectively, pay for imported electricity, replace its ageing infrastructure and carry out repair and maintenance works that are essential for a reliable electricity supply,” Mr Mosito said.
He said the current charges for electricity connections, wiring and testing should remain unchanged.
This year’s hike comes on the back of two consecutive years where there were no tariff increments. Last year LEWA resolved not to increase tarrifs to cushion the public and other customers from the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.