Friday, June 14, 2024

ZESCO Announces Rotational Load-Shedding Due to Planned Generator Outage and Low Water Levels at Kariba Dam

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Zambian power utility ZESCO Limited has announced that it will begin a rotational load-shedding exercise on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, due to a planned generator outage at the Maamba Coal Thermal Power Plant for routine maintenance and low water levels at the Kariba reservoir.

According to a statement from the ZESCO Corporate Affairs department, the low water levels at Kariba Dam have resulted in a reduction of generation at the 1080 MW power station facility to below 400 MW. This has affected the company’s ability to meet the system load and customer power demand, particularly during peak periods in the morning and evening.

The situation will be further exacerbated by the planned outage of a 150 MW generator at the Maamba collieries limited power plant, scheduled to take place from January 4 to 20. This annual maintenance is necessary to ensure the continued reliability and efficiency of the power plant.

In an effort to mitigate the effects of the load-shedding, ZESCO has stated that it will endeavor to optimize electricity generation at all other power generating stations in order to maintain the integrity and safety of the power system. The company will also continuously notify customers and the public on the availability of power.

The low water levels at Kariba Dam have been a concern for some time. In mid-December, Energy Minister Peter Kapala announced that ZESCO would begin load shedding on December 15 due to the low water levels in the dam. In a ministerial statement, Mr. Kapala explained that the water levels in Kariba Dam have been decreasing due to low inflows from the Zambezi river, and the overutilization of water for power generation has further worsened the situation.

Mr. Kapala stated that load management measures would be implemented for a period of four months in order to ration the water in the dam and avoid a complete shutdown. ZESCO will optimize generation at all power stations in the country and accelerate the development of other power projects in an effort to mitigate the impact of reduced power generation.

As of November 28, 2022, the water levels at Kariba Dam were at 4.1 percent of usable water storage, posing a threat to power generation for both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Mr. Kapala stated that if current power generation and water utilization trends continue, the remaining water for power generation at the Kariba complex, also known as live storage, will not be sufficient for power generation beyond mid-December.

To avoid a complete shutdown of electricity generation at the Kariba complex, it is necessary to implement measures to ration the water in the lake. These measures will be phased and reviewed regularly over the next four months in order to ensure the security of electricity supply and mitigate the impact on key economic sectors.

It is important to note that the load-shedding measures will only be temporary, and ZESCO is working to improve the reliability and security of the power supply in the long term. The company is actively pursuing various projects and initiatives, including the development of new power plants, the expansion of transmission and distribution networks, and the adoption of renewable energy sources.

In the meantime, ZESCO urges customers to use electricity efficiently and to only use essential appliances during peak periods. By working together, it is possible to minimize the impact of the load-shedding and ensure a stable power supply for all.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Like i said why are we applying band aid on a very challenging issue…this is a Zambian issue not PF or UPND….we need to find a way so that we can have power 365 days a year 24hrs a day…let’s not become the next Ghana or Nigeria where electricity is only for Ministers and for the rich

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