ZAMBIA is facing an estimated power deficit of 560MW and is going to import about 100MW of electricity to cushion the current electricity shortage that has hit the country, which would result into Zesco, the power utility company suffering a compounded projected revenue loss of US$227 million.
Zesco is also going to suffer a US$116 million overall funding gap because of the reduced electricity generation and Government has directed the power utility company to ensure that the 120 MW Itehzi-Tehzi hydropower station is commissioned as planned in August this year.
At its 13th meeting held at State House yesterday, Cabinet decided that in the short term, Zesco and its private sector partners should also commission the 150 MW Maamba Coal powered station by November this year.
Chief Government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili told a media briefing at State House yesterday that the on-going load shedding should continue in order to protect the power generation equipment from possible damage because of the reduced water levels.
Mr Kambwili said Cabinet directed Zesco to begin exploring the option of power-renting from ships docked at sea and that the power utility company should actively promote the use of renewable energy technologies in the face of the current power deficit.
“Zesco Limited has embarked on a countrywide power rationing mechanism in order to preserve the limited water available for power generation until the 2015/2016 rainy season. As a result of the current situation, Zesco is going to lose US$97 million due reduced sales to customers. About $70 million revenue will be lost because of reduced sales to distribution customers while $60 million will be lost as a cost of power importation between now and December. Zesco is going to suffer an overall funding gap of about $116 million due to reduced generation,” Mr Kambwili said.
Mr Kambwili who is Minister of Information and Broadcasting said on the long term basis, Government decided that there should be quick implementation of the Lusiwashi Lower hydropower project in Serenje.
He said Zesco had been directed to engage the promoters of Kalungwishi Hydropower station which has a projected capacity of electricity generation of 150 MW to expedite the implementation of the project apart from directing the expansion of the Ndola Heavy Oil plant to 100MW as well as approving the construction of the 340MW EMCO thermal power plant.
Mr Kambwili said the measures were designed to alleviate the shortage of electricity due to the reduced water levels at Kariba North Bank power station, Kafue Gorge power station and Victoria Falls power station due to reduced water levels.
And Cabinet has resolved to open a Consular-General in China’s city of Guangzhou in Guangdong Province to further strengthen the existing diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Mr Kambwili said Zambia was opening a consulate office in Guangzhou to take advantage of the vast investment and trade opportunities in China.
Government also revised the tourism policy to align it with the Patriotic Front manifesto, the revised Sixth National Development Plan (R-SNDP), the revised Decentralisation Policy and the Job Creation and industrialisation Strategy.
Mr Kambwili said Government had also proposed the establishment of Presidential Mausoleums and supporting facilities and approved the construction of a Mausoleum for late president Michael Sata at Embassy Park.