• The surcharge applies to customers drawing 100kVA and operating at a power factor lower than the 0.92 lagging required by law.
• The authority to implement the low power factor surcharge was granted by Energy Regulation Board in 2016.
• Unlike taxes and levies, the power factor surcharge is avoidable.
Zesco Limited has disclosed that monthly electricity bills for maximum demand consumers will include a low power factor surcharge in addition to the usual capacity, energy, and fixed charges, effective 1st October, 2022.
In a statement, Zesco Spokesperson Henry Kapata said the surcharge applies to customers drawing 100 kilo-volt-ampere (100Kva) and operating at a power factor lower than the 0.92 lagging required by law.
Mr. Kapata stated that the authority to implement the low power factor surcharge was granted by Energy Regulation Board (ERB) in 2016 but its rollout was deferred to allow for customer familiarization of the key aspects of the low power factor surcharge which included the distribution of educational dummy bills.
“Unlike taxes and levies, the power factor surcharge is avoidable, provided the customer operates within the prescribed power factor limit. The benefits of operating above the targeted power factor of 0.92 lagging are reduced energy bills, improved voltage profiles, increase in efficiency of the electrical system and devices among others.”
“This Power factor correction is only for Maximum Demand customers and not residential customers. The Power factor is not a tariff adjustment at all. The Power Factor Surcharge is meant to assist the Maximum Demand Customers maximize their savings on power usage and save costs by installing the Power Factor Correction equipment. The affected Maximum Demand Customers are
Industries, Mines, Manufacturers, Customers on power purchase agreements, Agricultural and large & social commercial customers and not residential customers,” Mr. Kapata explained.
He further said the Power Factor Surcharge is an efficient system that will help save power and help the Maximum Demand Customers reduce their power costs.
He added that Maximum Demand Customers that will use the Power Factor Surcharge will regulate their own power consumption.
Power Factor Correction increases efficiency of your electrical system and other associated devices. It eliminates the soon to be implemented Low Power Factor Surcharge which applies to equipment or machinery operating above 0.92 lagging. The regulation limit of power factor is 0.92 Lagging. A Power Factor Surcharge is a penalty imposed by ZESCO on Maximum Demand Customers to compel the owners of the equipment and or machinery to comply with regulations under the distribution grid code.”
“To enable all its maximum demand customers to gauge their compliance levels, ZESCO has distributed dummy bills based on the August 2022 meter readings to all the affected customers, including those who may not have been on the database during the Six months trail period of January to June 2016,” he stated.
A surcharge is an additional fee or tax that consumers are required to pay when they buy certain goods and services.