Cabinet has directed the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development to expedite investments in other sources of energy such as solar in order address the power deficit the country is experiencing .
And Cabinet has approved that the bulk Supply Agreements signed between ZESCO and Bulk Consumers be reviewed to allow for constant adjustments of electricity tariffs for such consumer categories just as the case is for residential and other consumers.
Acting Chief Government Spokesperson Vincent Mwale told journalists in Lusaka today that Cabinet which held the 16th Cabinet special meeting at state house yesterday directed the Ministry of Energy to quickly develop alternatives sources of energy that are resilient to climatic changes.
Mr. Mwale who is also Minister of Youth and Sport said government is no longer in a position to continue offering incentives to bulk consumers hence the decision by cabinet to have the Bulk Supply Agreements reviewed and appropriate legislation enacted.
The Minister explained that government used the low electricity tariffs as an incentive to woo foreign firms take ownership of the local mining companies during privatization so that mines can remain viable.
He however noted that since copper prices have risen and that in view of the rising cost of producing power, government had decided to review the agreements.
Mr Mwale said cabinet has further resolved that all new industrial and mining customers have to pay cost reflective tariffs based on power generated from new plants.
He added that ZESCO has been directed to contract emergency power from the private sector in the short term in order to mitigate load shedding and provide the much needed additional electricity to the economy.
The Minister added that a selective tender process for companies with capacity to supply emergency power within the shortest time period will be undertaken.
Mr. Mwale however observed that the Load shedding situation has arisen because the country has over the years not taken concrete steps to diversify the country’s generation mix to avoid adverse effects of the changing climatic conditions that have made droughts more frequent.
Zambia is currently experiencing a power deficit of 560MW due to the low rainfall experienced during the 2014/2015 rain season that has resulted in ZESCO effecting a stringent load shedding regime in order to preserve water in dams to avoid complete shutdown of the generation plants.