Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma said in Ndola that Zesco has invested more than K26 million in electricity generation and transmission projects countrywide to cushion a power deficit by 230 Mega Watts (MW) this year.
“Zesco is growing the country’s power generation and transmission to cushion the deficits between supply and demand by at least 230 MW in 2014,” Mr Yaluma said.
Zesco’s electricity generation capacity lies between 1, 730 and 1,820 MW.
In a related development, Mr Yaluma said Government would allow Zesco to increase electricity tariffs by a considerable rate this year and gradually in future.
“The sustainability of Zesco’s operations depends on how much tariff is in place to strike a balance with the economic environment.
Zesco cannot afford to subsidise maintenance costs through borrowing money, hence the tariff cost structure needs to be adjusted upwards to cater for these expenses,” Mr Yaluma said.
He said with reasonable proceeds, Zesco could sustain its operations with supplementary funding to enhance growth and manage challenges such as load shedding.
Zesco has applied to the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) for a 26 per cent hike in electricity tariffs owing to the cost of operations incurred by the power utility company.
And Mr Yaluma has said the construction of fuel storage facilities in Mongu, Mpika and Solwezi is on course.
“With colossal investment, in Mongu, we are putting up an 8,000-litre petroleum storage facility, a similar one with the capacity of 8,000 litres is also under construction in Solwezi and a 6,500 litre strategic reserve for petrol and diesel in Mpika,” he said.
Mr Yaluma said all these developments were aimed at bringing fuel facilities within the reach of the people to cushion fuel shortages in densely populated areas of the country.
Times of Zambia