By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA –
GOVERNMENT is to release a total of K434.42 million Euro Bond funds to ZESCO to enable the utility firm develop a new distribution system and undertake rehabilitation of its power transmission infrastructure.
Mines, Energy and Water Development Deputy Minister Charles Zulu said ZESCO had budgeted K119.25 million from the Government’s Eurobond to finance the establishment of a new substation at 13 miles, ZESCO workhops, Greenfield, Mungwi road and Independence Stadium all in Lusaka.
This is meant to increase access to electricity services by rural communities, increase the capacity and reduce load shedding.
In an interview in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Zulu said the company was expected to replace the 11KV metal clad switchgear at various substations at a cost K58.4 million and was intended to reduce operating costs, increase capacity and reduce load shedding as well as improve customer service.
“The construction of the Mungwi Road substation, upgrade of the Chongwe-Avondale-Ngwerere 33KV overhead line and the construction of the Dola Hill substation in Ndola, will also be financed from the US$69 million Eurobond funds,” Mr Zulu said.
About K19.6 million was budgeted for the construction of the Levy Mwanawasa switching station to increase supply capacity, reduce load shedding and operating costs caused by system faults.
Mr Zulu said ZESCO would also use K8.4 million to upgrade the Kafue Road substation.
“It is important to mention that ZESCO will spend K14.4 million from the proceeds of the Eurobond to finance the construction of the ZESCO workshop substation and they are expected to upgrade the Ngwerere substation as well,” he said.
A total of K51.1 million was budgeted for the refurbishment of freedom park switching station and K17.92 million for the construction of Makeni switching station and that these and among other projects were meant to boost power supply and ultimately reduce load shedding in the country.
He said the Government was committed to improving the distribution of power and customer services because it was cardinal to the development of the country.
Mr Zulu said under the distribution and customer services, ZESCO was undertaking a number of projects funded outside the Eurobond proceeds.
Such projects include 132KV Lusaka ring upgrade to be financed both by the World Bank and ZESCO at a cost of about K47.6 million which was expected to be completed by 2016.
Mr Zulu said the World Bank was also funding the reinforcement supply in Chisamba and the upgrading of Figtree substation amounting to K71.55 million was scheduled to be completed this year.