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All transmission, distribution lines in Zambia are common carriers, clarifies Nkhuwa

THE Ministry of Energy will continue to support implementation of initiatives in the power sector that promote participation of the private sector, says energy minister Matthew Nkhuwa.

And Nkhuwa has clarified that all transmission and distribution lines in the country (irrespective of ownership) were declared as Common Carrier.

In a statement, Nkhuwa stated that the government was aware of recent developments that might have been misconstrued or caused uncertainty among private players in the Electricity Supply Industry (ESI), notably the recent deal for 600 mega-watts (MW) of Solar-PV signed between Zesco Limited and Power China.

Nkhuwa said his ministry was spearheading a sectorwide reform process aimed at fostering development of the power sector in response to climate change, in particular the need to address power deficits at times of reduced water levels.

“This is demonstrated in the recent adoption of the National Energy Policy (NEP) of 2019 as well as enactment of the Electricity Act No.11 of 2019 and Energy Regulation Act No. 12 of 2019,” Nkhuwa said.

He said that the National Energy Policy 2019 and its accompanying legal instruments was aimed at attracting strategically-aligned partners to the country’s electricity sector and attract private sector participation.

“This will encourage competition and facilitate a gradual shift away from the single-buyer model,” he said.

Further, the minister said the recent regulatory and statutory changes also made it clear that all transmission and distribution lines in the country (irrespective of ownership) were declared as Common Carrier – to facilitate a move towards a competitive market.

“Government is also aware of recent developments that may have been misconstrued or caused uncertainty among private players in the Electricity Supply Industry (ESI), notably the recent deal for 600 Mega-watts (MW) of Solar-PV signed between Zesco Limited and Power China,” he added.

Nkuwa stressed that the development should not be misinterpreted as Zambia remained very much open to private projects.

“Indeed, studies undertaken so far indicate that the current grid infrastructure is capable of absorbing in excess of 1000 MW of power from intermittent energy sources by 2025 and substantially more, going forward.”

He said the Ministry of Energy together with all concerned private players and cooperating partners would continue to support implementation of various initiatives in the power sector that promote participation of the private sector and ensure the smooth implementation of on-going programmes such as the Global Energy Transfer Feed in Tariff
(GETFIT) programme and the Intermediary Power Off-taker Concept as approved by Cabinet.

Nkhuwa pledged that his ministry would continue to embrace other new and innovative approaches aimed at developing the power sector.

“Lastly, on account of the above, I wish to reiterate government’s open-door policy and commitment towards promotion of private sector participation in the development of a robust, diversified and secure power sector in Zambia,” said Nkhuwa.

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