ZESCO Limited public relations manager Hazel Zulu says the power utility will not review the load shedding schedule during the COVID-19 outbreak because it is still experiencing power generation constraints.
Citizens have called on Zesco to reduce load shedding during this time in order to encourage more people to work from home and prevent the spread of the virus.
But in an interview in Lusaka, Tuesday, Zulu said the company was still facing power generation constraints with Kariba Dam still experiencing low water levels.
“What you need to understand is that we have a load shedding schedule; we have a countrywide load shedding schedule in place; we come up with a schedule after reviewing power generation. For now, we have reported that we still have low water levels, especially in the Kariba. So, the power generation constraint is still there. We cannot adjust at the moment. So, what it means is that, currently, we are at a minimum of 10 hours to 15 hours a day of load shedding for every customer,” Zulu said.
“Basically, the good thing is that it is on a rotation basis, meaning that you will not have power going in one area at the same time every day. So, if you have power, for instance, today, you have power in the morning, you probably be taken out tomorrow in the afternoon or in the night. So, for now, the point is that we are not going to revise the schedule for now until after we have had our review to look at the water levels and assess whether or not we have increased water levels.”
She urged customers to adjust to the load shedding schedule during this period when individuals worked from home.
“We want to appeal to our customers to adjust, even as they are working from home, let them adjust accordingly to the load shedding schedule. I think beyond that we want to consistently remind our customers that they need to use the available power prudently. You know, if we are going to manage this load shedding, we have to work together with our customers,” urged Zulu.
“So, they have an obligation to use the power prudently in the sense that they need to switch off appliances. We have always said that those electrical appliances that are not in use, let them switch off completely. They shouldn’t leave them, even on standby mode, they should be switched off completely. Then they should also migrate to using energy efficiency bulbs like LED bulbs; you know that LED bulbs use less energy and then also, we continue to talk about solar alternatives so that the power that is saved by an individual household or company will be redirected into the grid, meaning that it will be able to be used for other purposes.”