Monday, 06 December 2021 02:09 GMT

LEC hikes power tariffs

(MENAFN- The Post) MASERU – FROM tomorrow it will cost you more to keep the lights on. The Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) is increasing power tariffs by a staggering 10.3 percent.
The tariffs have been approved by the Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority (Lewa).
The chairman of Lewa, Relebohile Mosito, told a press conference on Tuesday that the LEC has requested a 30.9 percent increase which it claimed would cover its M1.2 billion budget for this year.

Mosito said Lewa, however, had to strike a balance between the LEC's financial needs and the potential burden on the customers.
“In determining the LEC tariff application, Lewa considered several factors including, but not limited to, the prevailing socio-economic environment, sustainability of LEC, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and affordability of electricity tariffs by various customer categories in the country,” Mosito said.
He said the LEC has been struggling to keep up with the cost and demand of electricity because Lewa has not approved tariff increases for the past three years.

Mosito said Lesotho has to import power from South Africa and Mozambique which have increased their charges.
He said that the LEC would be allowed a revenue requirement of M1.07 billion instead of the M1.241 billion it requested.
Mosito however said the current charges for connection, wiring testing, wiring re-testing, survey, re-survey, licensing for wiring, meter testing, and house extension remain unchanged.

One of the board members of Lewa, Tlali Hlasa, said they were not convinced by the LEC's request for a 30.9 percent increase because the company did not submit a financial statement.
Hlasa said they approved the 10.3 percent increase to help the company remain stable and meet its obligations.
Moahloli Sekhantso, another Lewa board member, said they are working on some projects to improve local power generation and reduce imports.
The managing director of the LEC, Mohato Seleke, said they are satisfied with the new tariffs.
“This will enable them to fulfil their mandate and to buy electricity from abroad,” Seleke said.

Consumers are however unhappy about the tariffs.
The Executive Director of Consumer Protection Association (CPA), Nkareng Letsie, said the new tariffs are coming at a time when consumers are already struggling to make ends meet.
He said salaries have remained largely stagnant when the cost of basic commodities has increased in recent months.

The General Secretary of Lesotho Textile Exporters Association (LTEA), 'Malikhabiso Majara, said they expected an increment of at least five percent.
Majara said most textile factories are already on the brink of collapse due to lack of orders and increasing cost of production.
She said the new tariffs will make Lesotho's textiles more expensive, forcing buyers to look elsewhere for products.
Majara is worried that more factory workers will lose their jobs.

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