Zambia: Cabinet Directs Zesco To Suspend Power Export Amidst Power Crisis

Hon. Cornelius Mweetwa (left), Minister for Information and Media and Chief Government Spokesperson and Hon. Peter Kapala(right), Minister for Energy.

Zambia has announced plans to recall about 100 Megawatts of power being exported to its neighbours in a bid to meet local demand.

The East African nation is struggling to keep the lights on due to low water levels in its hydropower generation dams, occasioned by severe drought.

The Minister for Information and Media and Chief Government Spokesperson, Hon. Cornelius Mweetwa, with the Minister for Energy, Hon. Peter Kapala, revealed the decision of the government at a press conference.

Hon. Cornelius Mweetwa said Zesco, the national electricity supplier, has been directed to implement the Cabinet decision as soon as possible.

Negotiations are also ongoing to recall an additional 195MW, considering contractual obligations and the severe drought impacting the region.

Zesco has contracts to supply power to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and the DRC.

However, the shortfall in power generation has compelled the country to import about 165MW of power to mitigate the shortage.

Speaking about the current power situation, Victor Mapani, Managing Director of Zesco Limited, said: “Zesco understand the adversities and challenges the load shedding poses and we sincerely regret that and wish things were different but as we are there is very little we can do about the water shortage.”

Meanwhile, the government, in collaboration with the private sector, is mobilising resources to open a second plant at Maamba Collieries, expected to produce around 300MW.

This project, requiring approximately US$80 million, has reached the final stages of financial closure.

Additionally, the government plans to install solar energy systems in public universities and colleges to free up energy for other uses.

Public institutions such as universities, hospitals and water processing plants, along with essential service providers like police stations, will not be subject to load-shedding.