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

I start firstly by narrating my ordeal as of last night, we had no power since afternoon, so I slept when there was no electricity. I woke up this morning and there was no power, so ironic meaning we had power while we were asleep. I stay in a Komboni so if you went through this last night through to this morning, we should be neighbours!!!

There are so many conflicting reports about why ZESCO has re-introduced this perhaps stage 4 of loadshedding, that its hard to climb through the mire to the absolute truth. Others say it’s water levels and maybe those could be close to the truth!

The rotational power cuts, which are at 8hrs in a day are here to stay. Load shedding is bad news for jobs, investment, food prices. Load shedding is very expensive, not only to ZESCO, because we cannot sell as much electricity as we want to, but also for the country and worse off small holder businesses that survive on electricity.

Failing ZESCO and its resulting loadshedding schedule that is not even being followed may soon be called a “national crisis”. How soon our power supply will become stable again we don’t know seeing that this is only August not yet OCTOBER, but at least we know we should brace ourselves and get prepared, right?

Whatever Minister of Energy Nkhuwa was saying about going to draw water from Congo would to my least annoyance be left for the technicians and engineers for how feasible that is, except to say that this level of load shedding, will tremendously affect the Economy in Zambia terribly especially with the high rising costs of foodstuffs such Mealie Meal.

The interruptions caused by load shedding has a negative impact on the costs of small businesses in various sectors.

This is so because, electricity is an important input cost for many small holder business like salons, barbershops, welders, butcheries, restaurants, business centers etc and load shedding comes at a cost for all in these categories, as they have to make provision to run generators to keep operations going. These may even face unbearable pressure if the costs of maintaining operations increase.

Load shedding, or the lack of power, is causing several businesses to reassess their operations. Stage 4 load shedding is very serious indeed and it will effect basic micro commerce and industry.

While all industries such tourism, mining, manufacturing etc are being impacted, the effect on the compounds is extremely devastating and hence my question, who should be the target of ZESCO’s longer hours of loadshedding, between CHAWAMA compound and KABULONGA or Leopards Hill or Ibex.

Densely populated areas like Wusakile, CHAWAMA, Kyawama, Kaunda Square, Mtendere, Mandevu among others depend more on ZESCO supplied electricity for their little economic initiatives. Unlike those in up-market residential areas which are less populated. Ideally, infact those in places like Woodlands and KABULONGA are more financially able to buy a genset, gas stoves and solar panels for their home use other than in the compounds.

The disruption of economic output impacts on the little out-of-initiatives employment by local residents to themselves, which in turn impacts on household disposable income growth in the compounds. No income means crime, poor nutrition, no healthcare etc.

Sadly, if load shedding is sustained, and if there is no security of electricity supply in the long term, it will be costlier to produce food. Obviously those costs will be passed onto the consumer, eventually in the longer term it will have an impact on food inflation, if it is sustained. Therefore government must find a lasting solution in this coming budget.

So in conclusion, I am of the considered view that if government is concerned about poverty and the hard impact on small survival economic activities in these areas, through ZESCO they may consider loadshedding the compounds lesser hours irrespective of the high levels of consumption. As a matter of fact, it’s not free they will still be paying for it. Otherwise crime will be on the rise and unfortunately those in residential areas will be the target of the crime. It’s a balancing act.

Prince Ndoyi
MMD Youth

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Prince Ndoyi you are very right, if ZESCO can get your advise,people will praise the government, more over most of the votes come from shanty compounds.

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    • Prince Ndiyo is mistaken on the water from the Congo river. Even South Africa is eyeing the same water by passing it through the Zambezi and tunneling it to South African rivers to feed it’s xenophobic population

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    • The idea of having “mayadi” is that that’s where the people who do the work of thinking should live.Thus,they must be kept comfortable(including uninterrupted power supply) for them to effectively think of solutions to societal problems.They differ from people who do the work with their hands.From the dawn of civilization,the head gets paid more than the hands.

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    • All I know is that the past could have taught us the lesson but the fools as usual claiming to be leading have not learned anything at all, that coupled with visionlessness has plunged the nation in the ditch. The PF has no credibility to attract importation of power, just as their shallow mindedness call on the 17m Zambians including babies to go and sundila in Karina dam. What a masquerade! What a miss!

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  2. Foolish Ndoyi this problem started with MMD who never planned how Zambia was going to be in 20 to 30 years in future. They never invested in building facilities like power stations and they thought Zambia will not grow. People today have built houses and companies all benefiting from the same source of power. MMD just thought of their pockets and pockets alone. Even PF should do better.

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    • Yes you are correct by saying that MMD did not improve on hydropower infrastructure. But how could it improve on the infrastructure when there was excess power because the mines the biggest consumer of electricity were on their knees. It instead concentrated on township electrification. Imagine places like Matero and Chilenje did not have electricity well over 20 years after independence and despite the fact that KK used to live in Chilenje before independence. The MMD improved access to electricity unlike UNIP and the PF has done even better.

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    • So Prince Ndoyi you’re MMD Youth, huh?
      Load shedding started with LPM, long long long time ago. All the lamentations you are putting across have been echoed before.
      Zesco’s major ability to generate power in mass now is by hydro. That’s the experience they have. Hydro means H2O (Water)
      I bet your asz that if you imagined Zambia skipping one season without rain or adquate rain, the country would go dark.
      Your Government should expedite an expensive and complex Nuke Energy Project with Russians for mass energy production in the face of unpredictable weather conditions. Crimate change is really taking its toll on Zambia. All your lamentations above are effects. Let’s address the cause. Causality – cause and effect.

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  3. The problem in Zambia is that we have lost track of what is legal and what is illegal. It is like we are only doing things according to instinct and not according to law, which means lawlessness. You need to realize that the illegal settlements are not even supposed to be electrified in the first place, it is illegal to do so.

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  4. Instead of standing up against load-shedding, we are have now resorted to debating who should be load-shedded more.

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  5. So Prince Ndoyi you’re MMD Youth, huh?
    Load shedding started with LPM, long long long time ago. All the lamentations you are putting across have been echoed before.
    Zesco’s major ability to generate power in mass now is by hydro. That’s the experience they have. Hydro means H2O (Water)
    I bet your asz that if you imagined Zambia skipping one season without rain or adquate rain, the country would go dark.
    Your Government should expedite an expensive and complex Nuke Energy Project with Russians for mass energy production in the face of unpredictable weather conditions. Crimate change is really taking its toll on Zambia. All your lamentations above are effects. Let’s address the cause. Causality – cause and effect.

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    • I have got an ideal of this crisis of low level waters in our rivers how it can be solved the answer maybe under ground water drill boreholes along the river banks 500 meters away from the river and pump water back in the rivers instead of going to DRC please how does this one sound let’s talk about this and any one closer to the minister to tell him this ideal.

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  6. ZESCO as a bussiness needs to break even and survive inspite of the current situation.
    Unfortunately most of the domestic cosumption is in our highly populated compounds where most consumers are on illegal connections and dont pay nothing. These are the areas where there is so much cottage industry in welding etc whereby most of them are illegaly connected.Zesco has to deal with this problem.
    Very few people in kabulonga can afford gensets.

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  7. @analyst.
    I cannot envisage the avoidance of load-shedding in the absence of the water which is needed to generate the power.
    Less water means less power. The load-shedding is put in place so that instead of doing without at least people can have a little. The answer to our power problems would only be dissipated by finding other means of generating power as has already been suggested.
    That being said, we need to realize that an undertaking in the quest for power solutions that will be reliable, safe and durable will need good planning and will also take time. In short we have been complacent too long in our dependence on water.

    All the same, ” Never say die” and ” Better late than never”. The ball is in Nkhuwa’s court.

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    • @old man, you may wish to recall that ZESCO promised that there would be no loadshedding this year despite low water levels. They reversed that by saying 4 hours and now they have increased to 8 hours. They misled people, so people didn’t prepare. The well educated engineers can’t forecast. They should all be fired

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  8. A friend from Mars suggested to me that we should all line up and pee in the Zambezi river to fill up the lake. Then I remembered that at one point a politician actually made that suggestion.On a serious note what is happening is making the charcoal burners (ba Ka malasha) seem smarter than people with university degrees. Ba ka malasha have thought through this energy issue and attempted to come up with an option, to cut down trees and make charcoal as a source of energy. Bad as this sounds they attempted on alternative energy. 50years after independence, we should have thought about a better way of dealing with energy issues as well as clean water for domestic consumption. What does this say about us?

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  9. Has the Maamba thermal power plant failed? The assurance this failed government gave us is that once the said power plant starts operating at full capacity loadshedding will be a thing of the past.

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  10. Just bring back the Muzungu!
    We have failed!
    Actually if you travel a lot like me, Africa is headed in the same direction!
    Your friends in Zimbabwe are having only Four (04) hours of power per day which sometimes comes at 01:00am! Consider yourselves lucky Zambians that you are still enjoying 16 hours of power per day! Where there is no vision, people perish!
    Coming to your question as to where they should loadshed more, let it be done more in in those areas where people danced the most! I won’t mention the song they danced to!

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  11. @6 Analyst, YOU ARE SPOT ON!! Why should loadshedding become normal and we start discussing modalities of doing it instead of agreeing that Govt must provide leadership to end it!?The matter of loadshedding vs slight increase in tariffs to facilitate emergency importatation of electricity should be brought to public discussion rather than the current approach.

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  12. Drilling bore holes on the river banks I would love somebody to say something about that idea is it possible just thinking

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  13. Innovation is the way. I see solar as one way forward. The challenge must be seen as an opportunity. This is the short term to Medium solution. It is better to push ZESCO ‘out of business’ by generation local solutions, like solar. Is there no innovation in Mwa-George Township? If there is no innovation in Mwa-George, then the innovators are too preoccupied with dreams. Come down to earth, man. be the innovator! Innovation starts with you. Even a small diesel generator is more affordable than hydro power from the ZESCO line. A combination of solar and diesel generator can do wonders for the innovators. I must say, asking ZESCO to change the existing load-shading allocation sounds selfish. Solutions become problems until a genius increases national quantum exponentially with ZAMATOM,…

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  14. Do we have l big brains in this country with all these mushrooming universities? All we can think about is to import water for electricity generation from DRC? Do we need foreigners to tell us to recycle our so called low rainfall water before we let it pass to the Indian ocean? By the way the water that turns the turbines in all ZESCO power stations does not lose the generating properties before it goes to the ocean. Then how can we grow our economy if the most important ingredients of our commerce and industry are not maximally utilised? Our universities should churn out scientists who should change our poverty to richies not the other way equally the media should be disseminating information that is development oriented instead of merely politicking. Suspicion about the way ZESCO is…

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  15. Load-shedding is resulting in deforestation for charcoal meaning no rainfall where are we going electricity experts are not doing any Good to this nation they have failed

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  16. The water that turns the turbines does not lose its turning properties once it turns 1 turbine. This is why all the Zambian waters from the Zambezi River, Kafue and Luangwa Rivers continue to turn the turbines of the Cabora Bassa Dam in Mozambique.

    Mozambique has no load shedding as it receives abundant waters from Zambian Rivers of Zambezi, Katie and Luangwa.

    So why not dam there 3 rivers as many times as possible including the Luapula and the Chambeshj Rivers?

    Why not dam the confluence of lake Bangweulu and Luapula River for HydroElectric purposes?

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