ZESCO Limited intends to start importing 300 megawatts of electricity from South Africa at a total cost of US$13.5 million to mitigate the electricity power deficit in Zambia. Zesco director for commercial and customer services Chiti Mataka said the power utility company has an opportunity to start importing power from South Africa.
Mr Mataka said the cost of importing power from South Africa and transmitting it will be shared between the firm and customers. He was speaking during a stakeholders meeting here on Friday. He said the importation of power will reduce the hours of load-shedding which have been extended from four to six hours. Mr Mataka said the measure to import power proposes the premium cost plus margin to cover up for the importation cost.
He said this means that the first 100 units will not be subsidised to allow the power utility company to recover costs. Mr Mataka said if clients, on the other hand, feel that bearing the cost on their part is too much, the load-shedding situation will worsen. He said the company has already engaged Government on the matter and it is waiting to be given a go-ahead to start the process. Mr Mataka said Zesco hopes that Government will approve the proposal this week so that the process of importing power can start.
He said importation of power from South Africa is, so far, the only option that will cushion the power deficit in Zambia. “The projection is to import 300 megawatts from South Africa at a cost of about $13.5 million and we need to pay this. That is the reason why we are saying cost plus margin provides us with an opportunity to ensure there is no interruption in power supply over this period,” he said. Mr Mataka said if the proposal is not implemented, load-shedding hours will increase from the current six to eight hours.
He said Zesco desires to import power before loadshedding hours are increased to more than eight hours. Mr Mataka said the current increased load-shedding hours are due to the drastic reduction of water levels in generation plants. “If you say that you are not prepared to pay more than what you are paying now, then we are going to move to eight hours