By JAMES KUNDA –
ZAMBIA has reduced electricity imports from neighbouring countries by more than 400 megawatts (MW) following improved internal power generation, resulting in a significant drop in power-cuts to the local consumers by Zesco.
Energy Minister David Mabumba said from an import consignment of 500MW at the peak of the power deficit in 2015, the country was now importing only 75MW of the commodity, from a single source.
The minister said Karpowership of Turkey was the only source of imported electricity, while others like Aggreko and Electricidade de Mozambique (EDM) of Mozambique were no longer exporting the commodity to Zambia.
Mr Mabumba, in an interview yesterday, attributed the development to increased water levels at the hydro power generation sites and the Government’s drive of investing in infrastructure development with emphasis on diversification.
He was cheered with the development as it would help the Government save resources to channel to other needy areas.
Meanwhile, Energy Permanent Secretary Emelda Chola has said the Government has offset a significant portion of the financial debt owed to EDM for power imports.
EDM economy and finance director Getá Remigio Manuel Pery was this week quoted in the Verdade newspaper, a Mozambican publication, saying the firm had not supplied power to Zambia in the first seven months of this year owing to the debt.
Mr Pery, however, said the Zambian Government had presented a payment schedule for the debt estimated at US$109 million and resuming supply would be based on the outcome of the negotiations between the two parties.
Brigadier-General Chola said in response to a Press query that the contract between Zesco Limited and EDM was for two years, starting from December 2015 to December this year.
She said in December last year, EDM stopped exports to Zesco due to outstanding payments.
“We have made some payments since then and the current balance is $65million,” said Gen Chola, who did not indicate the outstanding amount as at the end of November 2016.
She said the Government was committed to liquidating the outstanding arrears in due course, despite the contract between the two firms being suspended owing to increased generation.