The United Party for National Development (UPND) Hakainde Hichilema has blamed the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) Government of causing the electricity calamity the country is now facing.
In a message posted on his social media account, Mr. Hichilema said that PF Government has been dancing around the issue of Independent Power Producers supplying power to the grid and that UPND would have proactively engaged the private sector with the capacity to construct power plants around the country to immediately, agree on a cost-recovery tariff and then give them grid access to supply power to Zesco.
Below is the full post
Early last year in 2018, we told the PF government to redirect resources towards mitigating the effects of what we knew would be a bad rainy season in some parts of the country.
If we were in Government, we would have:
1. Negotiated with other countries for power importation under the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) arrangement way in advance. As per PF they are now fire-fighting and starting negotiations with South Africa to import the deficit now.
2. PF have been dancing around the issue of Independent Power Producers supplying power to the grid. In our case we would have proactively engaged the private sector with the capacity to construct power plants around the country to immediately, agree on a cost-recovery tariff and then give them grid access to supply power to Zesco.
3. We would have by now devised a net metering system, where citizens with excess power from their home solar units whose duty would have been waived anyway. This would have moved the majority of our citizens to solar systems thereby reducing the load on our hydropower plants as well as feed into our national grid. Further, we would have invested and encouraged alternative energy sources.
4. We would have encouraged and promoted usage of gas for industrial and domestic purposes, where applicable, so as to avoid the ongoing environmental damage through charcoal burning. This measure would equally have reduced the load on our hydropower plants.
5. On the agriculture sector, we would have made sure fertilizer and other inputs were delivered to the farmers on time and at affordable prices so that they grow more, especially in areas that were not affected by the drought. These areas would have supplemented the poor harvest in areas affected by the drought while research is being done for more drought-resistant varieties.
6. We would not have exported any maize grain as they did against our advice.
7. We would have invested in water harvesting mechanisms such as dams and canals and encourage irrigation of crops all year round.
Several other measures would have been put in place including the construction of communal dams to encourage water harvesting for irrigation.
As before, we can bet our last ngwee that PF will not implement any of these measures because none of them gives them personal benefit.
The result of ignoring this advice is the calamity we are witnessing today in all sectors with the potential of negatively affecting the livelihoods of our citizens.