Lusaka – In the wake of Zambia’s power crisis, the country has agreed with ESKOM of South Africa for the importation of 300MW of electricity starting this week, ENN reports. Addressing stakeholders yesterday, Energy Minister Matthew Nkhuwa confirmed that the ESKOM power imports will assist in reducing load shedding in the country.
“The 3- hundred Mega Watts is anticipated to reduce about two hours of load shedding”, Nkhuwa said. Zambia is confronted with climate change induced power challenges after experiencing a significant fall in its live water capacity at Kariba, which supplies the bulk of the country’s hydro-electric power. This intervention has come at a time speculation is rife in Zambia that ZESCO Management was planning to shut down its exposed turbines to stop power generation. In a show of social consciousness, the Zambia government said that the cost of the imported power will not be passed on to consumers, although the nation will in future move to cost reflective electricity tariffs.
Neighbouring Zimbabwe, which is facing similar energy challenges, has burdened its electricity consumers, both corporate and residential, with high energy costs after resorting to importation, an intervention which is not functioning properly. Isaac Kwesu, chief executive of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe told a parliamentary portfolio committee on mines that the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority was breaching its contract with miners to supply uninterrupted power after receiving advance payments from them in foreign currency. Zimbabwe Power Company’s five power plants are generating a combined 582MW against a national demand of 1400MW. Zambia remains vulnerable to electricity challenges for the next three months, with its hope pinned on a rise in water levels at Kariba dam, which it shares with Zimbabwe.