24th May 2024

The Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Ministry of Energy wishes to update the nation on the power supply situation with special emphasis on the load shedding exercise.

The Ministry of Energy, through ZESCO Limited, has had a critical review of the ongoing load management measures based on various power system performance variables and most importantly the feedback received from all our customer segments and the citizenry at large. You may wish to note that the implementation of the Eight (8) hours load shedding that took effect on 11th March 2024 is among the load management measures that has critically been reviewed.

The other measures include power importation and the continuous engagement with large power users such as the mines, the farming community and the manufacturers to find sustainable means of rationing the available power while supporting continued productivity and preserving jobs and livelihoods.

In view of the foregoing, I wish to highlight the following:

  1. The available water for power generation
    Zambia’s power generation is primarily hydro with the country’s dependence still at 85% of our total installed capacity of 3,777 Megawatts. This reliance has been severely tested by drought highlighting the inherent risks and limitations of depending on a single energy source.

As at 14th May 2024, the water available for power generation at Kariba Dam, the hardest hit reservoir in terms of reduced water inflows, stood at 48.6% yielding a paltry 166MW of power from the total installed power generating capacity of 1,080MW. As reported by the Zambezi River Authority, the water levels did not appreciate at the end of the rainy season and have since continued on a downward trend. The situation for the Kafue River Basin, which has traditionally been our most reliable, has not been any better. The Itezhi Tezhi
Dam as at 14th May 2024 stood at 39% of usable water for generation of electricity.

  1. Power imports
    ZESCO Limited has taken steps to steadily increase its power imports as a measure to reduce the deficit to support industries during the emergency period. While the power imports have eased pressure on the national grid, it is not without some limitations which include network transmission constraints on some routes within the regional market. At present, our total power imports (firm and none firm) stand at 188MW. In addition to that, ZESCO Limited has clawed back power from export contracts to a total of 160MW.
  2. Stakeholder engagement and customer support
    The Ministry recognizes and values the support of all stakeholders and is particularly grateful to the large power users who have taken steps to support the load management measures. Notable steps are those taken by customers such as First Quantum Minerals to import power, a move that will ease pressure on the grid. This collaboration authenticates what collective responsibility can achieve in times of a national emergency such as the one we find ourselves in.
  3. Load Shedding Scheduling
    Upon a careful scrutiny of various power system performance variables and the growing difficulty to balance the available power supply with demand, a decision has been taken to extend the daily hours of load shedding from the current Eight
    (8) hours to Twelve (12) hours, staggered in periods of Six (6) hours each day to ensure that we have power supply available until the end of the year. This change took effect on Monday, 20th May 2024.
  4. Transparency and future updates
    The Ministry understands the importance of clear communication and will keep the Nation informed of any future updates or changes to the load shedding schedule through the various media platforms.
    Government understands the challenges this extended load shedding presents. Therefore, we are committed to finding sustainable solutions to resolve the crisis through collaboration with stakeholders in development of renewable energy projects such as solar, to enhance our energy mix.
    Thank you.

Hon. Eng. Peter C. Kapala, MP


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