ERB bemoans high prices of solar equipment and generators


PRICES of products for alternative sources of energy have soared due to the poor performance of the Kwacha, says Energy Regulation Board (ERB) executive director Langiwe Lungu.

Ms Lungu said there was need for the public to be aware that there were safe alternative sources of energy other than electricity.

She  said this during a tour of selected gas and solar facilities in Lusaka that  included Afrox Zambia Limited, Oryx Oil Zambia Limited and Muhanya Solar Limited.

Ms Lungu said the main objective of the tour was to encourage the public to switch from using charcoal which had a negative impact on the environment to using Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

She said over 30 companies had declared interest in investing in solar energy while over 30 companies had also declared interest in investing in LPG mainly for export for foreign exchange earnings.

Meanwhile, Afrox Zambia limited regional manager for South Victor Kapanda said the company imported its LPG from South Africa but that the performance of the Kwacha which punished up costs.

He said prices would be lowered only if products were manufactured locally instead of importing them.

Afrox was currently selling its LPG gas at K19 per kilograms and had cylinders which came in the range of 1.4kg to its biggest of 45kg.

And Oryx Oil Zambia Limited managing director Dansel Sannigadu said the company currently sold its LPG at K25 per kg due to its extra costs incurred when importing the product from Mozambique.

Mr Sannigadu said the kwacha which was almost touching 10 per dollar made the company lose grounds and make losses.

“If you look at the kwacha it is almost touching 10 kwacha to a dollar and this is making us lose, the ground but we will try to sustain the market by absorbing the extra costs.”

“Oryx has been lucky because it has a stronger arm when importing products to sustain the market with plenty of gas,” he said.

Muhanya Solar Limited executive director Geoffrey Kaila also said his company had been negatively hit by the performance of the Kwacha especially when importing goods from United States of America.

Mr Kaila said despite solar energy products being exempted from tax, the effect of the exchange rate had negatively impacted on the company.

He said increasing prices on the solar products was inevitable due to the costs incurred during importation.

“The negative part of this business is that Kwacha is not doing so well, because everything we sell is imported,” he said.