ZESCO Muzuma substation being upgraded to KV 330 (from KV 220) in order to be connected to the national grid as soon as the Maamba coal plant station is commissioned
ZESCO Muzuma substation being upgraded to KV 330 (from KV 220) in order to be connected to the national grid as soon as the Maamba coal plant station is commissioned

ZESCO expects to restrict power supply to many customers from June 1 because of low water levels in hydroelectric dams.

“In view of the power deficit, Zesco Ltd. intends to commence load management to restrict supply,” the company said in a notice dated May 17.

ZESCO didn’t provide details as to how severe the shortage is, and said it will meet stakeholders this week to brief them on the deficit, according to the notice.

Zambia is grappling with a mounting debt burden, a currency that’s the world’s second-worst performer this year, and tensions with the mining sector it relies on for more than 70% of its foreign exchange earnings.

Copper producers including Vedanta Resources Ltd. and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. use more than half of Zambia’s electricity supply.

Water levels at the Kariba hydropower dam that straddles Zambia and Zimbabwe receded to 32% by May 20.

At the same time last year, it was 77% full and still rising.

Flows of the Zambezi river that feeds it are less than a quarter of what they were a year ago, and comparable to those in 1995-96, which were the lowest in 50 years of records, according to data from the two governments.

Zimbabwe also deepened power rationing this month partly because of the dropping water levels at Kariba, the biggest source of electricity for each of the neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, Mozambique’s Hydro Electrica de Cahorra Bassa has offered Zimbabwe and Zambia power imports in exchange for further reduced power generation by the two countries at their Kariba Dam hydro plants, state media reported Thursday.

Cahorra Bassa Dam is overflowing following recent cyclone-induced floods, and authorities in Mozambique favor having Zimbabwe and Zambia storing more water in Kariba Dam, which is upstream of Cahorra Bassa on the Zambezi River, to reduce inflows into the downstream dam and thus protect the infrastructure at Cahorra Bassa.

The offer for power comes at a time the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), which administers Lake Kariba, and the Zambezi River, which straddle the two countries, has instructed the two power utilities that generate power at Kariba Dam — Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and ZESCO of Zambia — to cut power generation because of the 2018/19 El Nino induced drought hitting southern Africa.

The ZRA has rationed water consumption by the two companies to 358 MW for Zimbabwe and 392 MW for Zambia, resulting in the two countries’ introducing load shedding since May and causing distress in industries and among domestic users.

ZRA chief executive Munyaradzi Munodawafa told a delegation led by Zimbabwe’s new Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi recently that Mozambique had offered power to Zimbabwe and Zambia in lieu of reduced discharge from Lake Kariba.

The two countries may get as much as 500 MW without the parties involved having to exchange any or significant amounts of money for the deal.

“We should be going to discuss that issue. We should be going with ZESA, ZESCO and their transmission people so that we sit together and agree how much Hydro Cahora Bassa can give out without requesting for money and without also the transmission requesting for wheeling charges and all that,” he said.

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19 COMMENTS

    • If there was someone in Government that was actually concerned with this and had read my articles we would have a totally different situation by now. My solution does not need expensive new dam construction or the installation of more turbines. It uses the ones that ARE ALREADY THERE and are now sitting idle.

      And saves a HUGE amount of MONEY!

      Digging the channel can be done in MONTHS, not years. My articles on LT –

      https://www.lusakatimes.com/2017/02/24/load-shedding-look-facts/
      https://www.lusakatimes.com/2017/03/01/zambia-short-water-power-generation-can-done/

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    • Sounds Mozambique is offering a good deal.
      Unfortunately State House’s Milingo Lungu need authorise Zesco to make any decisions.

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    • If there was someone in Government that was actually concerned with this and had read my articles we would have a totally different situation by now. My solution does not need expensive new dam construction or the installation of more turbines. It uses the ones that ARE ALREADY THERE and are now sitting idle.

      And saves a HUGE amount of MONEY! Digging the channel can be done in MONTHS, not years. See my Lusaka Times articles –

      Load shedding – A look at the facts

      Is Zambia short of water for power generation? What can be done about it?

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    • This is very sad. The yardstick of development in a country includes having electricity 24/7. Clueless Lungu and his gang have completely failed to fix this problem. A country cannot have sustainable development if the industries keep getting disrupted by power outages. What are we paying Lungu and his gang for? Hello?

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    • How come Zambia still has loadshedding? Every one else in Southern Africa has halted these things. Is Zambia’s cabinet interested in the country’s economic performance? Does this cabinet have the capacity to grow the economy?

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  1. Take up the offer from Mozambique and save some water. The 500MW should be split in two in the middle between Zambia and Zimbabwe

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  2. We are in total trouble with this PF leadership,we were being told there would be no load shedding bcoz Thermal power from Maamba will bridge the deficit from hydro.What happened?Now we are told 4 hours power cuts,half working day!! Mozambique is offering power( at the most flexible) terms,we keep dragging our feet bcoz it appears there may be no room for stealing under the pretext of “imported electricity”,instead we choose power cuts over what could be very cheap electricity! Could it be that ZESCO wanted to increase tariffs under the pretext of “imported electricity from Mozambique”!PLEASE ACT NOW,GET POWER FROM MOZAMBIQUE AND PREVENT POWER CUTS!!

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  3. Another exceptional achievement by the useless PFoools chipante pante govt, made up of dander heads, kaponya`s and drunks…. Dunununa reverse at it`s best

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    • We are yet to see more of these things happening with the liquidation of KCM.Ba kwalala beka beka….lol

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  4. These are people who can’t think outside the box. What happened to the solar projects designed to boost power? You can also store solar energy by building a dam on top of a mountain and using solar energy to pump water up during the day and release the water to turn your turbines at your leisure. Ku schoolu muyendalako chani? to think about load shedding? So much money has been invested in this power utility it’s about time they get audited.

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  5. We keep investing in hydropower when
    We know the weather pattern here.why
    Not go solar .we are squeezed from all sides, kcm,dollar,loadshedding,many more
    It’s time to dununa not reverse but forward.

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  6. Where are those PF idiyooots on LT who were signing about PF archivments by listing the end of load shedding ????

    You know your selves , can you pleas give us an update ??

    Ndanji ??

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  7. This is the same old story. Just trying to add up things here, have noted that this issue has come up because ZESCO was denied to increase the electricity tarrifs?

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  8. Comment:Thats what we wanted zambians, we even heard the song (dununa reverse) but u didn’t get what it m
    eant awe,that the meaning of that song.

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  9. I think the the Lusaka Times “Keeping you informed” mantra is misplaced on the issue of energy. Sometimes it is better to keep quiet than to show ignorance about what one talks about.A data sample close to zero is not enough for one to give meaningful analysis.

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