Zesco inks $150m power deal

Kariba North Bank Hydro
Kariba North Bank Hydro

ZESCO has signed a US$150 million Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with Eltel Networks of Sweden for the construction of 132 KV sub-transmission systems which will connect North-Western Province to the national electricity grid by 2015.
Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Charles Zulu said in Parliament on Tuesday night that the two-year contract will be financed by Nordea Bank of Sweden and Standard Bank of South Africa.
Mr Zulu was responding to a question from UPND Mwinilunga East MP Steven Katuka, who wanted to know when the project to connect Mwinilunga to the national electricity grid would be completed.
“The project to connect all the districts in North-Western Province as well as Lukulu in Western Province is expected to be completed by 2015. Mwinilunga district in North-Western Province will also be connected through this project,” he said.
The deputy minister added: “Eltel was selected as the best evaluated bidder following an open international competitive bidding process carried out through public tender”.
Mr Zulu said the project scope involves construction of an extensive 132KV sub-transmission system of overhead lines linking all the districts in North-Western Province and Lukulu in Western Province.
He said additionally, Zesco will construct new 132/33KV bulk supply substations in Mwinilunga, Mufumbwe, Kabompo, Mumbeji, Zambezi, Chavuma and Lukulu districts.
Mr Zulu said the negotiations between Zesco and the bank to finalise the financing are underway.
“It is expected that the contractor will mobilise to commence construction works before the end of year 2013. Some districts will be connected to the grid much earlier as commissioning will be done in stages with the last one coming towards the end of 2015,” he said.
Mr Zulu said the connection point for the new overhead transmission lines will be from the existing Lumwana 330/132/33KV substations.
He said the transmissions lines will be constructed as in the order of 132KV line from Lumwana Mine substation to Mwinilunga totalling 190kms, 132KV line from Lumwana Mine to Mufumbwe, Kabompo, Mumbeji and Zambezi totalling 518kms.
The other 132KV line from Mumbeji to Lukulu will total 93kms and the other 132KV line will be from Zambezi to Chavuma totalling 80kms.
He said an extensive distribution network will be constructed to electrify public facilities like schools, rural health centres, Government and other institutions facilities, chiefs’ palaces among other areas.
Mr Zulu said the project will improve availability and adequate power from the grid.