Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary Trevor Kaunda says a team of Zesco staff travelled to South Africa to finalize the power importation deal with Eskom but failed to give an indication of when consumers would have some relief.
Last Friday, President Lungu announced that a US $14 million payment would be paid to Eskom as part of the overall outstanding US $34 million balance for the emergency electricity power import deal.
“My government has made a decision to import power from Eskom of South Africa. The initial requirement is to pay US $44 million of which US $10 million has already been paid. Next week, US $14 million will be paid and anytime soon thereafter, the rest of the amount will be settled,” said President Lungu.
“These imports are a stop-gap measure as we wait for the coming on board of 750 megawatts of power from Kafue Gorge Lower in early March next year. The project is at 80 per cent completion. The lasting solution to power deficit is more investment in renewable energy such as solar to this effect I expect Zesco limited to finish the solar project by mid next year this 120 megawatt solar PV under the get fit programme has six 20 mega projects and they will reach commercial operation date in the third quarter of 2020,” said President Lungu.
And in a follow up interview, Monday, Kaunda said he did not know when the importation of power would commence.
“Last week, as of Thursday, there was a team from Zesco that was in South Africa discussing the same and today is only Monday I have been away from the office I don’t have any update yet but when I do, I will get back to you,” Kaunda said.
And when asked what modalities government had been put in place to ensure that Eskom was paid the remaining balance, Kaunda said payments were handled by the Ministry of Finance.
“Payment of such a nature…those are handled by Ministry of Finance they are not handled by this ministry,” he responded.
Kaunda also said the completion go the Kafue Gorge project would help reduce load shedding.
“Yes it will reduce load shedding hours but in terms of how long I need to confirm with the experts on the project because definitely Kafue Gorge are building five turbines and each one has the capacity of 150 megawatts but in terms of how much it will reduce load shedding by, unless the experts clarify what that translates to,” said Kaunda