Zambia to import power, build new plants to stem shortages

LUSAKA – Zambia will begin importing power and push forward with construction of new generation plants to stem electricity shortages that threaten mining output, government spokesman Chishimba Kambwili said on Monday.

Zambia’s cabinet authorised state-run power company Zesco to import of 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity to ease a power deficit of 560 MW, Kambwili said in a statement.

“Cabinet has explored the option of power-renting from ships docked at sea,” he said.

Zambia, Africa’s No.2 copper producer, plans to cut power supplies to mines by up to 30 % as early as this week after water levels at its hydro-electric projects dropped due to drought.

Zesco is rationing electricity until the rainy season starts around October, Kambwili said.

The company will lose out on $287 million this year due to lost income from customers and importation costs.

The cabinet has approved the construction of a 340 MW thermal power plant, Kambwili said, without giving any details.

Zesco is due to commission a 120 MW Itezhi-tezhi power station in August and a private firm the 150 MW Maamba coal-fired plant in November. A 150 MW hydro-electric power station is also planned.  – Reuters

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