Gaborone – The Zambian Electricity Supply Commission (Zesco) has extended the duration of its nation-wide load-shedding regime from four to eight hours per day in response to subdued generation capacity at the major hydro-electric power stations.
In a statement, Zesco spokesperson Bessie Banda said the power utility extended the load-shedding regime because generation capacity at the Kafue Gorge Power Station had dropped from 700MW (megawatts) to 600MW due to critically lowered water levels.
A further loss of 48MW in power generation at the Ndola Energy Company, as well as ongoing upgrade works on a 330kV (kilo-volts) main power line, also contributed to extended hours of load-shedding.
Banda said the 8-hour power outages would last until November 12.
“Zesco is committed to providing reliable electricity and is doing everything possible to ensure all transmission and generation constraints are mitigated in the shortest possible time. In particular, the line upgrade works will be completed by 11th November 2016, which will strengthen the capacity to evacuate power from Maamba,” Banda said.
“We expect the extended load shedding (regime) to end by 12 November 2016. In view of the foregoing, ZESCO therefore wishes to appeal to its customers to use electricity more efficiently, and to use alternative sources of energy whenever possible,” Banda said.
The drop in water levels in the Zambezi River has also reduced Zambia’s power-generation capacity at the Kariba Hydro-Electric Power Station, which is operated jointly with southern neighbour Zimbabwe.
The use of obsolete technologies and a failure to maintain the plants have also led to breakdowns that resulted in loss of power generation. – IOL