GOVERNMENT has clarified that the current extended load-shedding being experienced in some parts of the country, from the normal eight-hour schedule, is triggered by a technical fault from the power interconnector in Zimbabwe.
Energy Minister Dora Siliya told Parliament yesterday that there has been a fault with the interconnection of power in Zimbabwe which Zambia uses to import emergency power from either South Africa or Mozambique.
Ms Siliya said Zimbabwe had issued a notice to Government over the problem emanating from their interconnector which, however, was expected to end by tomorrow.
“Normal load-shedding is supposed to be eight hours according the schedule, but in the recent past days some parts of the country have experienced extended hours of load-shedding because we have a problem with the interconnection of power in Zimbabwe.
“We have a problem with the interconnector of power from Zimbabwe which we use in terms of importing our power, whether it’s from Mozambique or South Africa because it comes through the Zimbabwean interconnector,” she said.
She, however, said the fault from the interconnector was being worked on and that Zambia was expected to have the normal eight-hour load-shedding by tomorrow.
She was responding to supplementary questions after United Party for National Development (UPND) Nangoma Member of Parliament Boyd Hamusonde, during questions for oral answers, who asked on among other matters, whether Government had continued to import emergency power from Aggreko, despite the normal rainfall recorded in most parts of the country.
The Kafue Gorge Power Station, which normally generates a capacity of 990 Megawatts (MW) of power was currently generating below 600MW, while the Kariba power station, which produced about 1,080MW, was generating lower than 300MW due to continued lower water levels.
“So even as we import emergency power, we are still not being able to produce all the power needed that’s why we have continued with load shedding,” Ms Siliya said.
Energy deputy Minister Charles Zulu said Government has continued to import emergency power, which had been stable at 40MW daily from 06:00 hours to 22:00 hours adding that the contract for Aggreko would expire in December this year.
He said the imports were necessary due to continued low water levels the country was still experiencing at the main reservoirs of power generation carried over from last year’s hydrological season.
The House heard that the country was currently importing an average of about 300MW power per month.
He said, during a recent monthly consultative meeting between the Zambian National Farmers Union and Zesco, the farmers ‘body was happy with the current loadshedding of eight-hour which gave farmers comfortability to irrigate at night when tariff are low.
The House also adopted the report of the committee of the Auditor General on the management of occupational Safety and Health presented by committee chairperson Garry Nkombo, who among other matters, urged Government to set up an authority that would be responsible for administration, reporting, enforcement and monitoring matters pertaining to occupational safety and health.
In winding up debates of the report, Vice-President Inonge Wina assured the House that the Government was addressing the matters issued by the committee.
The Protection of Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Expression of Folklore Bill, and the Supreme Court of Zambia Bill, both passed the Seconding reading stage.