Zesco Limited spokesperson Henry Kapata says extended load shedding hours currently being experienced around the country are due to generation constraints.

And Kapata has said the power utility is losing huge amounts of money from load shedding.

In an interview with News Diggers! Monday, Kapata explained that it was difficult for the utility to stick to the six-hour schedule, citing extremely low water levels at the Kariba Dam.

“Our plan, obviously, is to get to six hours, but generation constraints are the ones making us go beyond. So, it becomes very difficult to stick to the schedule. The water levels are going extremely down. If we deplete the little we have, I am afraid we don’t want to go back to the past. You have heard government’s pronouncements of importing [electricity]. We have a plan to say that even when these things are happening, we want to stick to six (hours), but generation constraints. It is like you start a journey of going to Ndola, which takes five hours, but you have tollgates, police roadblocks, you arrive [after] eight hours. But you cannot put on your diary to say that to Ndola, it is eight hours, you will always stick to five hours. We are working hard to stick to six hours, that is why you are hearing pronouncements of importation so that we stick to what we are saying. We are in business, we can’t be happy to see people have electricity after 10 hours or 12 hours,” Kapata said.

“We are sticking to six [hours]; to us, it is six. We are also losing colossal sums of money when we have no power for 12 hours. We cannot be watching from the terraces, laugh and have a cup of coffee that bachenjela (good for them), no! We shall always be engaging the people to tell them the truth and the way forward. There is inconsistency because of generation constraints. When we started the journey, the water levels are not the way they are now. We said four [hours] because we could tell we were able to survive the next rainy season. But along the way, generation constraints are the ones that have put us in an awkward position. We are working hard to make sure that things go the way we want them to go.”

And Kapata complained that members of the public had not been helpful in the usage of power.

“The other thing is the partnership with members of the public; it has not been so good with regard to ‘Switch and Save.’ We need that partnership to say that people have been part of it. We want the public also to help us. When people have been off for about eight hours or so, when power comes, everybody maximizes the usage of electricity. So, those are the things that keep the system load-shed. So, instead of power coming back after six hours, it comes back after eight hours or 10 hours,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kapata disclosed that the utility had commenced the distribution of energy saving bulbs across the country.

“We have started that programme of distributing energy saving bulbs; our target is to distribute four million. We started in Kabwe, and when we are done with the distribution, we are going to save 300 Megawatts,” said Kapata.