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Just In: Industries, homes to be without light for 12 hours each day for the next 6 months — ZESCO


The Zambian government has announced a significant reduction in power generation at Kariba Dam, from an installed capacity of 1,080 megawatts (MW) to a mere 166 MW.

Energy Minister, Peter Kapala, stated on May 14, 2024, that the water available for power generation at Kariba Dam, due to reduced inflows, stood at 48.6 percent.

This has resulted in the dam yielding only 166 MW of power.

In a statement issued in Lusaka on Friday, Kapala announced an extension of the daily load shedding hours from the current eight hours to twelve hours, staggered in two six-hour periods.

This measure aims to ensure a stable power supply until the end of the year.

“Upon careful scrutiny of various power system performance variables and the growing difficulty in balancing available power supply with demand, a decision has been taken to extend the daily hours of load shedding,” Kapala stated.

The load shedding, initially implemented on March 11, 2024, is one of several load management measures under critical review. Other measures include power importation and continuous engagement with large power users, such as the mining and farming communities.

Read More: Relief for consumers? ZESCO says electricity load shedding now 8 hours

“Others are the manufacturers to find sustainable means of rationing the available power while supporting continued productivity and preserving jobs and livelihoods,” he added.

Kapala highlighted that Zambia’s power generation is primarily hydroelectric, with the country’s dependence still at 85 percent of the total installed capacity of 3,777 MW. This reliance has been severely tested by drought, underscoring the risks and limitations of depending on a single energy source.

“As reported by the Zambezi River Authority, the water levels did not appreciate at the end of the rainy season and have since continued on a downward trend,” the minister said.

He also mentioned that the Itezhi Tezhi Dam, as of May 14, 2024, stood at 39 percent of usable water for electricity generation.

ZESCO Limited, the national power company, had taken steps to steadily increase power imports to reduce the deficit and support industries during this emergency period.

“While the power imports have eased pressure on the national grid, it is not without limitations, including network transmission constraints on some routes within the regional market,” Kapala stated.

Currently, Zambia’s total power imports stand at 188 MW and ZESCO Limited had reclaimed 160 MW from export contracts.

Kapala expressed gratitude to all stakeholders, particularly the large power users, for their support in the load management measures.

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