HH spells out energy plan

UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says his party is planning an action-oriented and forward-looking strategy to diversify the national sources of energy.

Mr Hichilema, in a statement yesterday, accused the Patriotic Front (PF) government of causing the energy crisis.

He, however, acknowledged that Zambia had a supply deficit of 560 megawatts even before the crisis hit.

Mr Hichilema said the ruling party was seeking praise for reducing the load shedding hours when it was entirely their responsibility, stating that small businesses had no option but to own generators in order to sustain their operations.

He said the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) was using more than its water allocation by the Zambezi River Authority.

“The PF should have seen this energy crisis coming. They either took their eyes off the ball for a very long time or they simply didn’t care, hoping the impact would not be felt until after August 2016.

‘‘ZESCO was using more than its water allocation. In 2014, it went over by 22 percent, violating restrictions put in place by the Zambezi River Authority to avoid such crisis situations,” said Mr Hichilema.

He said the UPND would enhance the use of renewable energy particularly solar energy projects that would be promoted by independent power producers.

Mr Hichilema said ZESCO was behind on maintenance of machinery where installed capacity was not equal to generation.

He said that addressing the energy shortfall was critical for the prospects of the nation, both in terms of the economy and in terms of social sectors such as education, healthcare and water and sanitation.

Mr Hichilema said the UPND’s point five of the 10-point plan was to electrify the country.