Zesco Limited spokesperson Henry Kapata says consumers are over utilizing power when it is restored, forcing Zesco to increase the load shedding hours.

In an interview, Monday, Kapata lamented that customers were not practicing “switch and save”.

Lake levels have plummeted to around 18 per cent full at the Kariba Dam as at September 23, compared to 76 per cent during the same period last year.

“Allow me to mention that the water levels are extremely low now as it stands. Non-compliance by our customers by maximizing power when it is restored, we are of the view to save the little water available and share it equally before the anticipated next rainy season. For example, if we allocate 300 megawatts to Lusaka to consume between 06:00 and 10:00 hours. Our consumers maximize and go beyond 300 megawatts. This forces Zesco to enforce additional load management so that customers consume what has been allocated, meaning that those that are off may experience extended load management because of those customers who could not exercise some ‘switch and save.’ What is key is that water levels are dropping extremely low,” Kapata said.

He stressed the need for all stakeholders to work together at ensuring a more effective consumption of power was maintained.

“We need to work together, as Zesco and customers, to avoid the dams from being depleted. Quite alright, imports will be available, but imports without compliance is like chasing a moving vehicle! We have homes where people switch on geysers in the night for a bath in the morning so that water is extremely hot. In the morning, they still want to add cold water to the water, which is extremely hot. Why not bath the extremely hot water since you wanted the geyser to be very hot? The best is first to put a solar geyser or simply switch on geyser (during the) same morning when you want to take a bath. We also have homes with electric fences that are on day and night. Why not have photo sensors that can only be on when there is an intruder? It is like having a dog at home that barks all the time whether there is an intruder or not. The time a thief will come, there will be no difference since it barks all the time,” said Kapata.