Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Zesco servicing only 26% of population
By Martin Mashekwa in Kalomo
Wed 13 Nov. 2013, 14:00 CAT

ONLY 26 per cent of the country's over 13 million population is being served with electric power, a Zesco official has disclosed.

Presenting a paper on the electricity distribution and challenges in Kalomo recently, at an Energy Regulatory Board (ERB) district focus meeting, Southern Province acting Zesco regional manager Bright Mwaipopo said the country's electricity deficit still stands at 165 mega watts compared to the 1,900 the electric power utility company generates against the current 2,065 mega watts of customer demand.

He, however said with the coming up of the 'increased access to electricity' programme, and the financial assistance from the World Bank, more people will be connected to the national grid, as others were advised to use alternative sources of energy such as solar panels.

And Mwaipopo has justified load shedding saying it was a mere option to protect the system from collapsing during peak hours when demand was high. He further argued that load shedding was not a deliberate move as perceived by its customers.

He said the company only exports power during times when its generation capacity was under ultilised, especially at night.

And officiating at the meeting, Kalomo district commissioner, Patrick Phiri observed that the country had for some time now been experiencing power shortages which has resulted into load shedding,a trend he attributed to high demand which had outstripped Zesco's generation capacity saying the government was doing everything possible to address.

Phiri said works on the extension of the Kariba North Bank to give an extra 360 mega watts which was expected to be completed by January next year were progressing well, while the construction of Itezhi-Tezhi hydro power station, which was also to generate 120 mega watts once completed were some of the projects being undertaken to address the power deficit.

"Government is also facilitating the construction of two thermal power stations in Sinazongwe district which are expected to produce 900 mega watts when full production is attained. These projects and many others underway placed all over the country, such as Kabompo hydro power project (40 mega watts), Kafue George lower (750 mega watts), once completed, will contribute significantly on minimisation or completely eradication of load shedding," said Phiri.

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