We are losing K6m from vandalism annually – Zesco

ZESCO loses about K6 million annually due to vandalism at some of its installations.

Company senior manager – corporate affairs John Kunda says vandalism is a thorny issue in the business model of the country’s sole power utility.

Dr Kunda spoke to journalists at Kariba dam wall in Siavonga on Saturday.

This was during the familiarisation tour, by energy minister Peter Chibwe Kapala, of the Kariba North Bank Power Station.

“We are losing K6 million from vandalism. That’s the average amount we lose on an annual basis. That K6 million can connect a lot of customers. One transformer is about K500,000. [But] people are vandalising our transformers, digging up our hammered cables,” Dr Kunda complained. “In Mtendere alone, three weeks ago on a Tuesday, people went and cut our duplex cables from 24 properties, burnt them and went to sell them in some of the furnaces.”

He added that on the Copperbelt, Chingola is notorious, in terms of some people vandalising Zesco installations.

“There is a time when we lost 10 transformers in two months [in Chingola]. There are cases where people go and simply chop our poles in order to bring down the conductors to get them for scrap metal,” Dr Kunda said. “Vandalism is really a thorn in the business model of Zesco. We need to curtail it!”

He also explained that Zesco is currently generating enough power to meet the peak demand for Zambia.

“The peak demand in Zambia is 2,410 megawatts. That’s what this country needs when everyone is drawing power,” Dr Kunda said. “[But] what we are producing is in excess of that demand. We are exceeding 3,000 megawatts. The question people are asking is ‘why are we experiencing loss of power in selected areas of the country?’”

He went on to admit that there are a number of places in Lusaka that are losing power due to a number of factors.

“The main reason [for loss of power] for Lusaka is the Lusaka Transmission Distribution and Rehabilitation Project (LTDRP), which is funded by the World Bank and the European Investment Bank,” Dr Kunda noted. “This is affecting a number of areas like Ibex Hill – first and second streets, Mtendere east, Acacia Avenue, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Obama, Kwamwena, Roma sub-station.”

He added that the other places that predominately lose power in Lusaka were Matero, Chazanga, Chaisa and Kabanana.

“Those are losing power because the sub-station got burnt four months ago. It has been fully rehabilitated…But we are remaining with the control panel that was ordered,” explained Dr Kunda. “It should be in the country anytime, probably next week. Once those works are complete, there will be no losses of power in those areas.”

At the moment, Zesco is generating power at Chikankata’s Kafue Gorge Lower (300 megawatts out of an installed capacity of 750 megawatts), Victoria Falls in Livingstone (108 megawatts), Kariba North Bank in Siavonga (1,080 megawatts), Kafue Gorge Upper in Chikankata (990 megawatts) and Itezhi-tezhi (120 megawatts).
In the northern part of the country, Zesco runs small hydro powers stations, among them Mpulungu’s Lunzua (14.8 megawatts), Lusiwasi Lower in Serenje (12 megawatts), Lusiwasi Upper in Serenje (15 megawatts) Musonda in Mwense (10 megawatts), Chishimba in Kasama (six megawatts) and Shiwang’andu at one megawatt.

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