By JOHN SAKALA
Energy Minister Matthew Nkhuwa says the imported power was actualized at the time the country was almost plunging into total blackout.
Speaking to The Independent Observer in an interview, Mr Nkhuwa said Friday last week when Zesco had started importing power from ESKOM, the water levels in Kariba Dam had dwindled to almost plunging the country into extra hours of load shedding.
He said after the power was imported, the situation was simply saved from worsening without making any improvement on the number of hours of load shedding on current schedule.
The Minister said at the moment, there is only one power generator (turbine) which is working at Kariba dam producing about 180 megawatts.
“We have put all turbines on stand because if we continue to force the machines the cost will be too huge to mitigate. At the moment we can limp with hope that the rains are here.
“We had to shut down the other power generators at Kariba because we were losing water at a high rate. Due to excessive hit, we were losing one centimetre every day in the Dam. And losing one centimetre per day in hydro production is a serious challenge for continuous power supply,” he said.
Mr Nkhuwa said the Kafue Upper George is the hydro power station which is producing a reasonable megawatts about 600MW.
He called for calm from all stakeholders as Government is working on short term and long term measures to curb load management.
Mr Nkhuwa said the Kafue lower George will come to operational in April 2020 with one generator out of the five producing 150MW of the expected 750MW.
“The Kafue Lower George hydro power station is the full utilisation of same water which is used at the Kafue upper. Once the five generators are fully operarional on the Kafue lower, we will be able to produce enough power just from one river which is Kafue.
“According to the Meteorological Department, this year we expect good rainfall which will help in improving water levels in the Kariba Dam so that all the six generators (180MWx6) can be working.