Friday, February 23, 2024

Government Justifies Export of Power to Neighboring Countries

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Hon. Eng. Peter Chibwe Kapala, the Minister of Energy, has said that electricity has become the highest non-Agro export for Zambia.

In a statement yesterday in which he announced that the New Dawn Government has taken steps to reduce the exports of electricity to other countries by 100MW in order to mitigate the impact of loadshedding on citizens. The reduction is broken down as 40MW cut from the off-peak and standard exports by ZESCO and 60MW from the exports by the Copperbelt Energy Corporation Plc (CEC).

“We understand the difficulties that loadshedding poses to our citizens and we are taking steps to ensure that we balance our power exports with the needs of our citizens,” said Minister Kapala. “Copper remains the highest export earner for Zambia, but there are limited dollars being remitted back into the country due to the nature of mine ownerships and copper trading. However, export earnings from electricity can have a better impact on the economy, including the strengthening of the Kwacha. This is because ZESCO is wholly-owned by the people of Zambia and the company’s foreign earnings will flow back into the country.”

According to the Minister, electricity has become the highest non-Agro export for Zambia. “For example, in March 2022, Zambia made electricity exports of K300 million (about $18 million),” he said. “ZESCO has contracts to supply power to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and the DRC totalling 430MW. We are taking steps to ensure that we balance our power exports with the needs of our citizens.”

The Minister went on to provide more details on the figures he mentioned earlier. He said that in March 2022, ZESCO exported 80MW to Botswana Power Corporation, 70MW to SNELL of Congo DR, 100MW to Namibia’s Nampower, and 100MW to Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority. In addition, CEC exported 60MW of power to the DRC. This brings the total exported power to 430MW.

He also added that ZESCO had signed an agreement with Nampower of Namibia to start supplying 80-megawatts of power in addition to the 100-megawatts that the company had been supplying from an earlier agreement signed in 2020. This new agreement allows ZESCO to earn 50 million US Dollars (about K874.4 million at the time of signing) per year for the next 10 years. Similarly, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) was importing 100 MW from Zambia, under an agreement premised on Zimbabwe making pre-payments for the 100 MW come from Kafue Gorge Lower. The condition precedent is that ZESA has to pay monthly deposits of USD 6.3 million to enjoy the facility.

The Minister acknowledged that the low water levels in the Kariba Dam have forced Kariba North Bank to cut its generation from 1,080MW (1.08GW) to 600MW and this has led to loadshedding. “This situation has been made worse by Maamba Collieries Limited taking off its 150-megawatts generator from supplying the national grid due to routine annual maintenance,” he said.

To address this, the New Dawn Government has asked ZESCO and CEC to reduce their exports to other countries. They have also asked Maamba Collieries Limited to reduce the time to be taken for their routine annual maintenance of their generator so that load shedding is reduced as soon as possible. “We have also asked that Kafue Gorge Lower, Kariba North Bank, and other power stations increase their power generation in order to get rid of loadshedding completely,” said the Minister.

“Whilst the levels at Kariba has started to go up, we have to remember that this is the lowest level of water in the Kariba Dam in the month of January since 1995 and this is due to both climate change and unsustainable usage of water for generation by both Zambia and Zimbabwe over the last 8 years,” he added.

Minister Kapala reassured that he will shortly be updating the public on what the government is doing in the solar energy sector and in the hydro-power sector to get new stations or expansions online. “We are committed to finding sustainable solutions to our energy crisis, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that our citizens have access to reliable power,” he said. He also added that the government has been working on a number of projects that will bring more power to the national grid in the coming months. The Minister said “We are developing new hydro power stations, and we have also been expanding the existing ones. Additionally, we are working on a number of solar energy projects that will be able to generate power for the national grid. These projects will take time to be completed, but we are confident that they will bring the much-needed power to our citizens.”

10 COMMENTS

  1. This is hard for the people who are directly affected and have to close their business unable to feed their family from the high cost of living that we are currently experiencing. Even the bible says start with your own eye before you go your neighbour. Surplus means whats left over so if you are selling surplus electricity it should mean zambia must already have. Tell the people the truth we have clients who paid in advance before we had the proplem so we have a mandate to fullfil that contract. Or risk being sued or damaging our relationship with our neighbors. Not your explanations because the pipo would argue that from your profits of these install solar for all of ud

  2. Cheap and tinpot businessmen running the country economy. You cannot prioritize profits over well being of citizens. Electricity is a security resource. In the US it is illegal to export oil from there for a reason. You meet local demand first and then export excess.

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  3. But kwena.. seriously? I wonder why Namibia is not telling us the same story..so we are suffering because we want a stable kwacha? Politicians are a bunch of liars.i will never vote again.

  4. Talk is cheap…. Just go ahead and justify poverty…. Under UPND everything is normal…theft is justifiable, Corruption is Justifiable, Potholes are Justifiable, Filthy Street and uncollected Garbage is Justifiable, High unemployment is justifiable, high cost of doing business is Justifiable.

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  5. First, they overtax Zambians whilst they give tax holidays to foreign mining companies. After failing to raise enough revenue from the mines, the UPND government decides it can make more money from selling electricity to the regions whilst it imposes a punishing loadshedding schedule on majority poor Zambians. This shows how callous this UPND government is to its own people. We are talking here about a government led by an SDA Church elder. One wonders what this Church elder learns from scripture.

  6. Talk of development, in Zambia news is about pf and upnd.Tell us when Lusaka will be re-planned, when kabompo hydro will be completed, when hell run road will be completed

  7. This explanation is sickening to the people of Zambias and Zambian businesses who are suffering daily from the impact of load shedding. Bwana Minister, Charity begins at home. Provide sufficient power to the people of Zambia who voted for you first before going to rescue our neighbours. You are killing our economy while promoting economies of other countries by giving them our electricity. What kind of economics are you practicing under the new dawn government? Everything in this country is upside down under the new dawn. The country is retrogressing. And you are very quick to defend the indefensible. You are not listening to advice. This know it attitude is not good for our country. Have some humility and learn to listen. They say that, ‘Pride comes before a fall’.

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