The opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) President Hakainde Hichilema says Zambia is headed for darker days due to an electricity deficit that is a result of low water levels at the Itezhi-Tezhi reservoir and Kariba Dam.
Mr. Hichilema has however noted that this deficit in electricity is further evidence of the lack of planning that has characterized the PF Government since 2011.
Mr. Hichilema says the PF Government from inception has been running on excuses for things of their own making due to their inability to prioritise and plan well.
He says the electricity generation system has come under severe strain due to maintenance backlogs and a failure to bring new generating capacity on-time to match economic and social development demand.
He explains that this is against the background that only 22% of Zambians have access to electricity.
He states that ZESCO received US$186 Million for Kafue Gorge Lower Power Project and another US$69 million for the Power Distribution Project from the $750 million Eurobond adding that to date the country has not yet seen the benefits of that investment.
Meanwhile PF Media Committee vice chairperson Sunday Chanda says PF Government is working towards addressing energy challenges both in the intermediate and long-term contrary to claims by the UPND leader’s statement.
Mr. Chanda says the UPND leader knows too well, that no Government has monopoly over climatic and weather conditions considering that Zambia has historically been dependent on hydro-electric power and not on other sources of energy such as nuclear, thermal, coal, among others.
Mr. Chanda notes that unless Mr. Hichilema seeks to project himself as a Rain-maker who can raise the water levels at the Itezhi-Tezhi reservoir and Kariba Dam, the challenges owing to erratic climatic and weather patterns are part of the reasons why PF in Government is investing into expansion of existing hydro-power infrastructure but also going further to diversify to other energy sources such as Solar.
Mr. Chanda explains that while Mr. Hichilema elects to politic over these matters which the UPND manifesto remains inadequate to address, the PF in Government is working towards addressing energy challenges both in the intermediate and long-term.
He says to this effect, ZESCO has announced to the nation it its “ZESCO Customer News – Issue 2”, released on 2nd April 2015, and which Mr. Hichilema would be wiser to read, that it has embarked on a number of projects to mitigate the power deficits that have been the main cause for power interruptions.
He says one of the many projects is Itezhi-Tezhi, the 120 MW hydropower project worth approximately USD $245 million and scheduled for completion by 31st October 2015.
The PF Media Committee Vice Chairperson has since stated that the PF in Government is already working to improve operational efficiencies at the power utility company as can be evidenced by the recent changes at the strategic levels of the corporation.
CREDIT – QFM NEWS