The United Party for National Development – UPND Energy Chairperson Charles Kaisala says Zambia is a member of the Southern Power Pool, this is why it is exporting electricity in order to help other countries that are in a crisis.
Mr Kaisala said that it is a norm for members of the Southern Power Pool with excess electricity to extend help to those facing a crisis.
He however noted that the UPND government understands the energy sector and it is working on reducing loadshedding in the country.
“Loadsheding is a supply and demand kind of situation, where we have a high demand and the supply or generation capacity has been impaired because of the low water levels at the Kariba Dam,” he said
Mr Kaisala said that basically to not lose the entire national grid through tripping or losing the wall, load management is done where certain points and to avoid going into a catastrophic situation where the entire grid is lost.
“When you lose the whole grid it will take you about a week to restore it because you just cant switch on like any other situation, there are processes that go on at the power station when operating these machines,” he said
“The situation we are in, is not a normal situation, it is because the water levels have dropped beyond reasonable doubt, if you go to Kariba Dam right now, there is an island in the Dam which means that the water levels are very low, our colleagues across in Zimbabwe there are even in a more situation,” he said
“The situation we are in right now from the independent power producers we have Mamba Collories, they supply the national grid with 300 megawatts of power that is coal-powered, and thye had a scheduled maintenance of one machine, the machines ther are two because they generate power at 150 megawatts each, of which they have taken out that machine because maintainencce is very cardinal, and you cant be handling these machines without maintainence because they will just give us and then lose the whole power station,” he added
Mr Kaisala mentioned that when the UPND took over office they had a lot of challenges in both the electricity and petroleum sector and based on thier manifesto which they drive their policy on energy, adding that their manifesto looks at creating conditions for the provision of safe, reliable, eficient, cost-reflective and environmentally appropriate energy services to all sectors on the sustainable basis, he mmentioned that this statement summarises there policy on the energy sector.
He stated that on the electricity sub sector, with ZESCO being the main player, the UPND Government came up with policies especially on the energy mix as the country is heavily dependent on hydro generation concentrated on the Southern part of the country, where there are power stations on the Zambezi river and the Kafue river.
He added that over the years, there has been some challenges on both the Zambezi river and Kafue river, which has led to having challenges with the generation capacity from these power stations because of the climate change effects, where the rainfall patterns have gone from normal to abnormal, which has necessitated to having terminal load shedding in the country.
“As a Party we came up with a policy direction of having generation mix that is in the way power is generated not concentrating on hydro but also have other forms of energy such as solar, wind, biomass etc,” he said
Meanwhile, Mr Kasaila mentioned that in the petroleum sector there were two ways to get the product, one thorugh Indeni in Ndola and also through the oil marketing companies which bring in finished products, when the UPND took office Indeni was not operational since 2020, as a Party they took an option of immediate solution on Indeni by having the model changed to that of an oil marketing company to enable Indeni to continue being relevant in the petroleum market in the country, the process has been initiated and its on going.