Several reasons necessitated the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) to open an office in Kitwe in particular.
ERB Board Member Mr Chiteta ChingÃ¢..ambu observed during the launch of the office in Kitwe that the ERB has constantly registered concerns from energy consumers and various stakeholders that the regulator is only located in Lusaka and seems unable to address concerns of people in Chipata, Mazabuka, Kasama and Mwinilunga, just to cite a few.
He therefore hit the nail on the head when he said the opening of the new office is a demonstration of the regulator's commitment to practically reach out to energy consumers and various stakeholders.
He also observed that the mining sector in Zambia is moving north westwards and it is critical that the ERB is well positioned to support the growth of the economy in this part of the country.
The ERB has realised through inspections and public meetings that the ERBÃ¢..s location in Lusaka tends to limit its wider accessibility to the people of Zambia, hence the need to urgently open other offices. The number of consumer complaints from the northern region has steadily increased over the years.
'Each time we have traversed the country-side, people have expressed the desire to see the regulator spread its wings to remote and other parts of the country. Through field work, the ERB has appreciated the direct interface with the public. This valuable process has made us appreciate that an information gap truly exists with regard to what the public perceives is our mandate in the energy sector'.Ã Mr Ching'ambu said.
Going forward, the challenge is for the ERB not to give up but continue sensitising the public on the complexities of regulation. The opening of a new office is part of the BoardÃ¢..s long-term vision to launch offices in other parts of the country.
The Kitwe launch is no doubt, a strategic and timely development.