Load-shedding still unacceptable – Hichilema

PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema’s stance on load-shedding still remains that it is unacceptable, says his spokesperson, Anthony Bwalya.

Since January 3 this year, the country’s sole power utility, Zesco, is implementing a countrywide rotational load-shedding of electricity.

According to the Zesco public relations unit, electricity load-shedding, which is likely to last for eight months, is due to a drastic reduction of available water in the Kariba reservoir.

Zesco adds that the installed generating capacity of Kariba North Bank power station in Siavonga, Zambia’s largest hydro power station, has since reduced from 1, 080 megawatts to 400 megawatts.

On a One Love radio programme, Bwalya said President Hichilema’s stance on electricity load-shedding has not changed – that the trend is still unacceptable.

Once electricity load-shedding had started, netizens went back to posts which President Hichilema, as an opposition leader published.

But Bwalya said the President is listening and concerned about the power predicament, which he said has been birthed by climatic conditions.

He appealed to the public to give President Hichilema time to resolve the matter, which has been in existence since independence, due to inadequate investments in the energy sector.

He noted that for close to 60 years now, previous governments did not invest in energy generating sources but the demand of power has been increasing, due to a growing population and different business needs.

“For 60 years, we haven’t been making sufficient investments in the energy generating sector, and now we are asking the President to make it right in just five years and he is saying ‘I am up to the task’. We just need to give him time,” Bwalya said.

“This is why today you hear the President saying we need to urgently invest in renewable, climate resilient energy sources… All our energy sources are climate dependant.

He, however, said the advent of new technology in generating hydro power has given Zambia an advantage as it does not require a lot of water to generate power, except there is need to invest in the technology.

He called on the private sector to partner with the government to invest in new technology in order to solve the electricity load-shedding issue and ensure that it does not recur in future.

“Don’t think that the President’s stance [on load-shedding] has changed; he is as disappointed as all of us are because the issue of load-shedding has the potential to disrupt the country’s economic growth agenda,” said Bwalya.

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