Consumer Affairs

Regulating to safeguard your interests

Consumer complaints

Any person or consumer may seek the ERB’s intervention if they are dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint by an energy utility or they consider the outcome inconclusive. The ERB receives, investigates and resolves consumer complaints using the Complaints Procedure channeled through letters, e-mails, telephone call or a consumer may visit the ERB offices. The ERB will not normally accept complaints from any person who has not exhausted the complaints procedures of the utility they have a dispute against. Below is a list outlining the types of complaints the ERB handles:

Billing Payment Issues:

  • Billing
  • Disconnect Notice
  • High Bill
  • Payment Arrangements
  • Service Termination
  • Deposit
  • Charges
  • Taxes/Surcharges

Quality of Service Issues:

  • Fuel Contamination
  • Meter Testing
  • New Service connection
  • Service outage
  • Trouble Report
  • Equipment
  • Service Interruption
  • Service/Personnel


Energy Conservation TIps to save you money

We have put together a list of tips for conserving energy in your home, and therefore saving you money. Download the ful list of 69 tips, and in the meantime, here’s a few to get you started:

  • Turn the geyser thermostat down to a lower temperature. 60 degrees is recommended.
  • Use the shower rather than bathtub.
  • Let the sun shine in. Allow sunlight into your house or office and thereby eliminate the need to switch on the lights during day time.
  • Switch off the lights when no one is in the room.
  • Compare cooking times in a micro wave with the stove, oven, steam cooker or even charcoal and choose the most economical source. For example, if you are cooking several items, a microwave might not be economical.
  • When boiling water, boil only as much as you need and don’t fill the kettle with unnecessary water or keep the extra boiled water in a flask to use later.
  • Let hot foods cool before putting them in the fridge.



The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) is a statutory body charged with the responsibility of regulating the energy sector in Zambia.

The ERB is generally responsible for ensuring that energy enterprises earn a reasonable rate of return on their investments and consumers are given quality products and service.

Key functions of ERB include issuance of licenses, monitoring the efficiency and performance of energy companies and ensuring they comply with relevant standards and license conditions. The regulator also receives, investigates and resolves complaints from consumers and energy enterprises regarding price adjustments, quality of energy products and services including the location of energy facilities.
Other activities include the design of standards with regards to the quality, safety and reliability of supply of energy and fuels; formulation of measures to minimize the environmental impact of energy; and recommendation of measures to be taken through regulations to the Minister.

• Electricity
• Fossil Fuels
• Renewable energy

The ERB is funded through grants from Government; and donations from cooperating partners.

ERB have four offices located in:

  • Chinsali
  • Kitwe
  • Livingstone
  • Lusaka (Head Office)

137 as at 15 December 2020.

The number is dynamic because new applications are continually processed, while some old licence expire.

354 as at 15 December 2020.

The number is dynamic because new retail sites are continually licensed as they are built, while old ones are decommissioned.

No. The Ministry of Energy is responsible for the procurement of petroleum feedstock and finished petroleum products.

The petroleum supply chain basically comprises the following:

Upstream: refers to the point of purchase of the commingled petroleum feedstock in the Middle East to the Indeni Refinery in Ndola

Downstream: refers to all industries that start from the refinery up to the delivery of petroleum products to commercial customers and services stations.

  • Setting wholesale petroleum products prices;
  • Setting refinery, pumping and through put fees for upstream players;
  • Determination of downstream margins for Oil Marketing Companies transporters and retail filling station dealers; and
  • Providing price support for imported finished products which are landed at prices higher that the local prices, especially during periods of the oil refinery shutdowns.

Not at all! Each member of staff buys fuel from a filling station of choice.

32 as at 15 Dec 2020 for various electricity licences including; generation, transmission, distribution, supply or trading, and system operator licences.

Electricity Entities include:
ZESCO Limited, a state Owned Power Utility Copperbelt Energy Corporation, an Independent Power Producer and Transmission Company; Lunsemfwa Hydro Power Company; North-Western Energy Company, a private Power Distribution Utility; Zengamina Power Company Limited Independent Power Producers; Maamba Collieries Limited; Kariba North Bank Extension Power Corporation; – Bangweulu Power Company Limited; Dangote Industries Zambia Limited and Ngonye Power PV

A standard connection is one where all relevant infrastructure such as lines and poles are available in the area where a customer seeks connection. Therefore, all that is needed is just a service cable (drop line) from the power lines into a customer’s house.

On the other hand, non-standard connections are those where there is need to put up infrastructure such as lines and poles to connect new customers to power.

Extra works and materials such as wires and cables and sometimes transformers are required to be installed to reach a customer’s premises. Naturally, there is more work and time required for non-standard connections.

Not at all! Each member of staff has an obligation to pay for the electricity they consume.

No. However, a one-off licence waiver is required, which is a regulatory consent granted by the ERB to anyone importing solar energy products for own use. In this context, own use means the product can only be used by those who bought it and is not transferable commercially or used for any kind of entrepreneurial purposes.


The Energy Regulation Board does not charge a fee for this service. Just submit a formal written application requesting for a one-off licence waiver. The application should be accompanied by information such as, but not limited to, consignment notices, a clear description of the intended use of the products and location where they will be used or installed.

Anyone is it at liberty to engage in the aforementioned business activities. However, one needs to be aware that these are regulated activities. Therefore, one must obtain the necessary legal rights to engage in one or more of them. This requirement extends to both individual people and incorporated bodies.

It is necessary to obtain a licence prior to commencing operations.

In October 2018 the Energy Regulation Board approved a regulatory framework for mini-grids in Zambia.

This framework is being road tested, and may be adjusted in line with learnings from, amongst others, mini-grid projects implemented by the Rural Electrification Authority, before regulations are gazetted.

The regulatory framework was developed in consultation with key stakeholders, including government, private sector, civil society and development partners.

The mini-grid regulatory framework comprises the following documents:
1. Executive Summary of the Licensing and Regulatory Framework;
2. Standard Licence to Generate, Distribute and Supply Electricity for a Mini-Grid Electricity System;
3. Rule on Tariffs Applicable to Mini-Grids in Zambia; and
4. Technical Requirements for Mini-Grid in Zambia.

If the capacity of the generation unit is up to 100kW, an exemption for a licence may be granted by ERB. In this context, own use means that electricity can only be used by those who produce it and is not transferable either commercially or for in-kind consideration.

If the capacity of the generation unit is 100kW or higher, a “generation for own use” licence must be obtained from the Energy Regulation Board (ERB), before commissioning and starting to generate electricity, not after completing the system.

Developers considering an investment in off-grid systems in Zambia can contact the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) who can support developers in liaising with the Energy Regulatory Board, Office for Promoting Private Power Investment, Zambia Revenue Authority, Zambia Environmental Management Agency, and Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, amongst others, with regards to the required approvals and licences for off-grid systems. ZDA has a One-Stop-Stop at providing both local and foreign investors with business-friendly registration services with the aim of reducing the cost of doing business.


Charter aimed at protecting consumers and ensuring the obligations of the utility and the regulator are rightly stated. In order to enhance the quality of electricity services by ZESCO, ERB recognised the need to develop an Electricity Consumer Charter was developed after nationwide stakeholder consultations. Subsequently, the Charter was adopted and launched on 15th February 2007.

The charter is an embodiment of obligations and rights of parties and their promise and commitment to uphold and to respect such rights and obligations. It is not legally binding, but a pledge of trust and commitment among the regulator, utility and consumer. There are pros and cons to both legally and non-legally binding charters. However, for the purposes of consumer education and efficacy in Zambia, the non-legally binding strategy is being employed.

Will help to strengthen relationship with consumers & consumer bodies as it will help educate the public about the concept of paying for electricity. It will be a constant reminder of the customer care pledge.


The rationale for ERB establishing Consumer Councils is to extend the regulatory arm of the ERB to the grass root level in various communities in the country. The objectives are to ensure the following;

  • Improved communication between consumers and service providers;
  • Improved quality of services, particularly by speeding up the resolution of consumer complaints in line with the complaints procedures of ERB;
  • Speedy resolution of consumer complaints;
  • Creating awareness among consumers of their rights and responsibilities as well as the roles and functions of the service providers and the Regulator; and
  • Giving sufficient feedback on public opinion to the Regulator. This information should be adequate to enable regulation meet the requirements of a given area.

To aid the coordination process, these operational guidelines outline general procedures in managing the CWGs.