Loadshedding needs concerted efforts
Published On June 25, 2016 » 2869 Views» By Davies M.M Chanda » Opinion
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WE are dismayed with the information from the Energy Minister Dora Siliya that water levels in Kariba Dam have reduced meaning load shedding will be with us for a long time.
However, looking at the measures the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has put in place, we feel other stakeholders like engineers and technocrats need to come together to help the Government find a permanent solution to this nettlesome problem.
Since load shedding worsened, Zesco has done its part by embarking on a countrywide power rationing mechanism in order to preserve the limited water available for power generation.
The shortage of electricity has been building for some time, but has become more pronounced with reduced water levels at Kariba North Bank Power Station, Kafue Gorge Power Station and Victoria Falls Power Station.
The bigger issue is that electricity is the lifeblood of the economy and thus it is needless to say the power deficit is already having an impact on business operations.
Mining companies are likely to be more affected with cut power supply to mining companies possibly by a significant percentage.
The other major sector already feeling the effect of load shedding is agriculture, especially poultry production since brooding and lighting are critical for the industry.
The Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) has also indicated in the past that they intend to increase mealie-meal prices due to load shedding of electricity. That is just how serious the effects of load shedding can be as observed by the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection JCTR which recently noted the potential impact on the poor.
The centre announced that considering the existing socio-economic conditions and levels of poverty prevailing in our country, the impacts of load shedding will be felt more by the poor majority.
Ms Siliya earlier this year announced that experts projected that it would take about three years of good rainfall for the Kariba Dam to get back to the required water levels for power generation.
What we want is for experts to go beyond announcement of such grim information by offering workable solutions to stop load shedding once and for all.
We feel what is required is to expedite investment into these proposed hydropower stations since electricity demand in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region has risen by 32 percent to 54,000 megawatt (MW) over the last decade, further widening the energy deficit at a time when there is limited investment in the sector.
It is thus grim revelations that should challenge our local engineers and technocrats to implement what they learnt in universities to ensure Zambia finds supplementary ways of alleviating load shedding.

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