ZESCO Limited has refuted claims from some sections of society that the current load shedding is due to the installation of sub-standard equipment procured from China.
ZESCO senior manager transmission South Julius Kapambwe maintained that the current load shedding the country was experiencing was due to low water levels in the country’s water bodies which were used in power generation.
In his presentation during a sensitisation meeting held at Livingstone’s Fairmount Hotel on Tuesday, Mr Kapambwe said ZESCO always followed international standards when making procurements and that accusing the company of buying sub-standard equipment by some sections of society was ill- motivated.
“The equipment in question has been running normally from about 2007 when it was installed and we never experienced these problems.
“So people must understand that the problem we have is that we have low water levels due to poor rainfall in the just ended season and there is nothing other than that,” Mr Kapambwe said.
He said the ZESCO was committed in ensuring that people were served in the best way possible hence the mitigation measures such as load shedding that have been taken.
Mr Kapambwe said the current load shedding was expected to last for over six months from now depending on how the rains might fall this season.
On accusations that the power utility company was exporting power to other countries at the expense of the local people, Mr Kapambwe agreed that Zambia had already signed binding legal contracts with Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) but the country had since reduced on the amount of power been exported to these two countries.
He further described as false reports from some other sections of the media that ZESCO was exporting power to Mozambique.
Mr Kapambwe said Zambia was in talks with Mozambique to see as to whether it would be possible for the country to start exporting power to the neighboring country once supply was normalized.
He said one of the mitigating measures that ZESCO had put in place to supplement the current output was that the company was currently importing about 200 Megawatts (MW) of power at a great cost.
And some Livingstone residents appealed to ZESCO to follow their load shedding schedule to avoid inconveniencing those in production.
Morris Mutale said it was unfair that sometimes power was going off without following what was stipulated on the schedule.
Mr Mutale said such uncoordinated power cuts adversely affected people in agriculture production, lodges and other industries that heavily depended on electricity.
In response, Mr Kapambwe said the company was trying by all means to religiously follow the load shedding schedule unless there was a fault.
“As ZESCO are trying to follow the load shedding schedule religiously, but that does not replace the fact that we are going to have faults. When there is a fault we have to work on it,” Mr Kapambwe.