Saturday, April 19, 2008
By Chibaula Silwamba and Mulimbi Mulaliki
Saturday April 19, 2008 [04:00]
ZESCO Limited is today shutting down two generators at Kafue Gorge Power Station, leading to further load shedding. Company marketing and public relations manager Monica Chisela announced yesterday that the generators would be shut down from 06:00 hours today for three days to facilitate repairs of the 330 kilo volts cable.
"During the period of the shutdown, 300 mega watts of generation capacity will not be available. This therefore will result in increased load shedding," Chisela said. "Customers are requested to switch off as many electrical appliances as possible in order to assist Zesco to maintain system stability."
She said the repair works would be done by contractors that were hired from Europe.
Chisela expressed Zesco's regrets on the inconvenience that the shutdown would cause to its customers.
"This is, however, necessary due to the safety requirements in order to carry out repairs on the 330 kilo volt cable safely," said Chisela.
And Zesco Ltd project manager Aaron Nyirenda said government policy changes had contributed to the current power deficit in the country.
Addressing stakeholders and customers over load shedding in Solwezi, Nyirenda said Zesco had projected the energy deficit due to economic development and wanted to expand the supply by embarking on new projects, which were identified.
However, Nyirenda said the government advised the power utility to the contrary.
"... During the privatisation era, 1990s all public companies were earmarked for privatisation, including Zesco.
Government told us that the private sector would take up the projects, so we knew very well that there will be power outages in the country and we wanted to develop the new projects among them Itezhi-tezhi, Kariba North Bank extension, Kalungwishi, and Kabompo Gorge," he said.
Nyirenda explained that the private sector failed to develop the new power projects, which Zesco could have developed had it been allowed to do so.
He said instead the company focused on rehabilitating the existing power supply stations, which cannot meet the demand.
He explained that Zesco's power generation capacity could have been over 2,000 mega watts had the projects been carried out.
Nyirenda said the company was now developing the same projects.
Director for customer service Teddie Mwale urged customers to buy energy saving appliances to save power that was vital to economic growth.
Earlier, Zesco customers in Solwezi complained of wrong billing and illegal disconnections despite having settled their electricity bills.