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Lack of data delays tariff status report

April 2014

LACK OF data is affecting the finalisation of a regional status report on the level of electricity tariffs in southern Africa.

Regional Electricity Regulators Association of Southern Africa (RERA) Executive Secretary Elijah Sichone said finalisation of a regional status update on tariffs is hindered by delayed and/or incomplete data submissions from Member States.

He said regulatory bodies from only six SADC Member States had submitted data on their tariffs while partially completed or no returns had been received from the remaining nine countries.

Completed forms have been received from regulators in Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“RERA needs urgent assistance to finalise the status update, including timely and sustained data collection/submission for publications,” Sichone said during the 13th meeting of the SADC Energy Thematic Group held in Gaborone, Botswana, in February.

RERA has since 2010 worked with the SADC Secretariat and the Southern African Power Pool to produce an Annual SADC Electricity Tariffs and Selected Performance Indicators.

This flagship regional publication has served as an essential information aid on regional trends pertaining to electricity supply industry tariffs and selected performance indicators for governments, regulators, utilities, non-governmental organizations, academia, investors and other interested parties

Evidence has mounted of low tariffs negatively affecting southern Africa, and consensus has increasingly emerged about the severity and likely impact of this problem. Existing SADC energy tariffs do not provide the right signals for new investment and energy conservation, efficiency and substitution practices by consumers.

A survey conducted by RERA with support from the Southern Africa Global Competitiveness Hub (USAID Trade Hub) in 2009 showed that the region’s energy sector is not self-sustaining. According to the survey, electricity tariffs within the SADC region range from 2.7 US cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 12.5 USc/kWh.

In some cases, the cost of generating the electricity is higher than what the utilities are charging.

For example, hydroeletricity generation – which is the second most common method of producing power in the region after coal – costs between 6 and 8 USc to produce a kWh while it costs an average 7.5 USc to make a kWh of electricity at any of the coal-fired power stations.

The survey showed that Angola and the United Republic of Tanzania had the highest tariffs in the region, at 12.5 USc/kWh and 12 USc/kWh, respectively.

Zambia had the lowest electricity tariffs at 2.7 USc/kWh followed by the Seychelles (3.2 USc/kWh)and South Africa (3.7 USc/kWh).