Zambia’s government has announced a cut in electricity exports due to low power generation in the country. In an interview with ZANIS, Energy Minister Peter Kapala explained that the government will not completely halt exports in order to maintain existing power markets. Currently, ZESCO, the country’s power utility company, is facing financial difficulties and relies on exports to support its operations.
Mr Kapala acknowledged the disruption caused by ongoing load management but emphasized the importance of avoiding a complete shutdown. He stated that the government’s priority is to ensure that industries continue to operate in order to sustain the economy. Water levels at the Kariba Dam, a major source of electricity for the country, are currently at 3.4 meters, significantly lower than in previous years. As a result, Zambia is losing 300 to 600 megawatts of electricity from the expected 1,080 megawatts of power at the Kariba North Bank power station.
To improve the situation, the government is working to bring the 105 Megawatt Ndola Energy Power Plant and the 150 Megawatt 5th generating unit at the Kafue Gorge lower Hydro Power Station online. Kapala expressed hope that load management will stabilize in the first quarter of the year.
In the meantime, the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) has reassured mining companies that they will not experience power outages due to the national rotational load shedding implemented by ZESCO. This follows the development of a solar power plant, which is expected to generate an additional 34 Megawatts for the national electricity grid.
Overall, the government’s decision to reduce electricity exports is a response to the challenges of low power generation in Zambia. While exports will not be completely halted, the government is working to address the root causes of the issue and bring new sources of power online. In the meantime, measures such as load management will be implemented in order to ensure a stable supply of electricity to the country.