EASTERN, Central, Muchinga, Northern and Luapula provinces are expected to be hit by massive blackouts which will last up to 10 hours every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday for 20 days.
And Zesco has pumped US$52 million in the optic fibre project and maintenance of transmission infrastructure to reduce power outages countrywide.
The power utility company will start load-shedding this week for 20 days to facilitate maintenance of the Kabwe-Pensulo 330 kilovolts (KV) transmission line near Serenje which covers almost the entire country.
Zesco senior manager in-charge of optic fibre projects Nang’alelwa Sitwala said works on the optic fibre will gobble US$44 million while the maintenance of transmission infrastructure will cost US$8 million.
“We want to apologise to our clients in the affected provinces that the outages will be lasting 10 hours every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday for 20 days,” he said.
He said Eastern Province in particular Chipata will experience another power outage in June this year on its 66Kv Msoro-Chipata and 66Kv Msoro-Katete transmission lines which will be on maintenance.
He said the outages in Chipata will last for two weeks every Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in a week with residents expected to stay for 10 hours without power on the designated days.
And Eastern Province regional manager Wilbroad Chanda said the province had been experiencing outages and load-shedding because the company is upgrading its substations to meet the growing needs of the town.
Mr Chanda said once the optic fibre and maintenance works on transmission lines are completed, customers will not experience power outages.
And speaking at a clients’ cocktail in Chipata last week, Mr Sitwala said the installation of the optic fibre will stimulate growth of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in rural areas and bridge the digital divide.
“Zesco has procured an optic fibre communication system and wants to install it to improve the protection, monitoring, control and operation of the 330kV transmission system in addition to provision of broadband communication service in the country,” Mr Sitwala said.
He said the optical fibre communication system will be installed on high voltage power lines to facilitate remote control and monitoring of substations and power lines on the respective line.
[Zambia Daily Mail]