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Zesco applies to govt to import electricity

ZESCO says it needs 13.5 million US dollars to import between 250 and 300 mega watts of electricity from South Africa to cushion the current power deficit.

During a stakeholders’ engagement in Chipata on Friday night, Zesco director commercial and customer service Chiti Mataka said importation of electricity was one of the interventions for the
current power challenges.

“Amongst the interventions that we want to come up with is the importation of power of up to 300 megawatts from South Africa. We have already applied to government, government is considering this, we hope that within the coming week we’ll get a favourable response. If we do that, it will give us an opportunity to import and mitigate the current difficult load management situation. In terms of our projections, the 300 mega watts of power shall cost us about US$13.5 million,” he said.

Mataka said money had to be found all the time to ensure that there was no disruption to power supply.

“The proposal that we have made to government is that we’ll use a pricing methodology of cost plus margin which means that it’s a full cost recovery, what we call the factory gauge which means where we buy the power from, including the cost of production, the cost of distribution and the margin that will enable us as we go forward to support the operational expenditure programme of ensuring that the transmission and distribution networks are primed up to support continuing supply to imported power. So this is what we are calling a binary choice,” he said.

Mataka said if the importation does not work out, Zesco would have no option but to increase load-shedding.

“If that does not come through then the alternative will be to move to eight hours and beyond in-terms of load-shedding. Why we have gone for this importation is because we know how devastating the impact will be on the individual customers and also on the national economy if decisions are not taken. We have got a mandate to do what is in the best interest of the people of this country, in the best interest of the national economy,” he said.

Mataka also indicated that water levels have continued to go down in the power generation reservoirs.
And Eastern Province assistant secretary Royd Tembo commended Zesco for engaging stakeholders on the matter.

“From the reaction of the people gathered here, you can see that there is no one willing to buy into the eight-hour load-shedding. This translates in the understanding that whether people will be happy
or not, it is the way to go in order to save the economy from collapsing, in order to save our lives, in order to save our business in a way. If you look at the eight-hour load-shedding, that’s the period that most of us in government work,” Tembo said.

He said there was need for the people in various communities to be explained to about the current situation so that they could understand.

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