North-western power connection not political

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North-western power connection not political-Minister

Livingstone, July 25, 2014,ZANIS——-Mines, Energy and Water Development Deputy Minister Charles Zulu says government’s decision to connect all districts in North-Western Province to the national power grid is not meant to gain political mileage ahead of the 2016 General Elections.

Mr. Zulu said the move was an investment for the next generation as it was unacceptable to have people living in darkness 50 years after the country attained political independence.

He reiterated that people were interested in benefiting from the country’s development and not mere politicking from its leaders and as such government would remain steadfast with its development agenda.

Mr. Zulu said this in Livingstone today at the launch of the Energy Week Commemoration and Exhibition held under the theme, ‘Zambia at 50: Diversifying energy sources’.

He urged members of the public to continue praying for the current government so it could remain in power for a longer period for the purpose of delivering development.

Mr. Zulu further said the country’s economy had grown over the past few years and would continue to do so under the stewardship of the Patriotic Front government.

He noted that as the economic activities continued to grow, the energy demand would rise to the point of outstripping the current energy supply if no new investments were made in increasing the country’s energy supply.

Mr. Zulu said in order to mitigate the challenges of increasing energy demand on the economy, government was investing in energy infrastructure both in the power and petroleum sectors.

He explained that government had facilitated the addition of 360 mega watts from the Kariba North Bank extension power plant and another 50 mega watts from the heavy fuel oil plant in Ndola to curtail power cuts.

Earlier, Energy Regulation Board (ERB) Acting Regional Manager Himba Cheelo said the Board had facilitated and supported investment in the energy sector by granting regulatory consents which provide for investment endorsement.

Ms Cheelo described investment endorsement as essential considering power projects were capital intensive and financiers needed to be re-assured that they would get a return on their investment.

In a speech read for her by Consumer Affairs Officer Musonda Chibulu, Ms Cheelo said ERB was working with the Ministry of Energy to promote the use of viable energy sources such as solar, biogas, geothermal, wind, gel-fuel and bio-fuels.

Meanwhile, ZESCO Southern Region Manager Billy Nsontaulwa said connecting more people to the national grid was an economic alternative to wood fuels such as charcoal to protect the environment and curb deforestation.

He reaffirmed ZESCO’s commitment to promoting energy efficiency, quality of supply and support to sustainable energy development.