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Eskom answers Zambia’s call for power

Zambia seeks additional power to meet its growing demand

The South African state-owned power utility, Eskom, has extended its resources to its land-locked neighbour Zambia, as it claims its power system is now stable to fulfil this action.

Eskom lends on premise of stable grid

Agreed to supply the southern African country with 300MW of off-peak power, Eskom has only recently clawed its way back to having a stable power system—this follows months of continuous black-outs due to aging infrastructure, unplanned maintenance and limited resources.

“We trade on a daily basis and have signed a bilateral agreement which allows us to supply up to 300 megawatts of off-peak and more than 50 megawatts standard at peak, if we have more available,” Eskom said in the statement.

According to Engineering News, Eskom signed a PPA with the Zambian state-owned electricity company, Zesco, and independent power producer, Copperbelt Energy. “Eskom also had an existing agreement to supply up to 50MW of power to the country,” the media reported.

Eskom said in a company statement: “We are aware that our responsibilities to supply our neighbouring countries may create an apparent conflict when the domestic supply-demand balance is constrained.

“To reduce the impact of exports, we have ensured that power supply agreements with SAPP trading partners are sufficiently flexible to allow for the following controls during emergency situations in South Africa.”

Reducing tariffs

While in need of power, the Zambian President, Edgar Lungu, has suggested that Zesco undo the intended tariff increases, which is to come into effect on 1 February, to enable affordability among low-income domestic consumers, the Times of Zambia reported last week.

In December 2015, the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) endorsed Zesco’s electricity rate hike for the different customer categories from an average of 37 ngwee ($6 cents) to 1.13 kwatcha ($10.35 cents) per kilowatt-hour.

After the ERB approval, residential customers witnessed a fixed rate of 0.51 kwatcha revised upwards from 100 units to 300 units per month, ESI reported last week.

The Energy and Water Development Minister Dora Siliya said: “Zesco will make a fresh application to the ERB and the revised tariffs are expected to come into effect on February 1, 2016. The revision is merely intended to make cost-reflective electricity tariffs reasonable for domestic users.”

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.