ENERGY minister Dora Siliya has warned of increased load-shedding next year, saying the country’s energy situation is a crisis.
And Siliya says the current electricity shortages need a leadership that must make tough decisions.
Siliya said this yesterday during a meeting on the power crisis and energy demand side management at Kitwe’s Moba Hotel.
“We can’t deny that government is in a crisis. The crisis of electricity is not a PF problem or a government problem. We do have a crisis that needs leadership. This crisis has affected everything: businesses are collapsing. But it’s lack of adequate rains that has created a problem for the private sector. The 2016 rainy season will be bad, load generation will reduce further, which will increase load-shedding next year,” Siliya said.
She said leadership must emerge to make tough decisions to sort out the current energy crisis.
“We may have to review the electricity tariffs. We need tough decisions for this crisis to be addressed. This is a very serious problem. We have an energy crisis, so we need to think away from business because businesses will not continue,” Siliya said.
“Currently, government accounts are in zero and cannot meet the costs. Government is spending huge sums to pay fuel bills every month. We are in a crisis; we are in a crisis.”
She said this was the time that the government wanted to see its true friends in the mining sector.
“We are getting 148 megawatts of power from Mozambique at a cost of US$13.2 million per month, which is not enough. The mines are consuming a lot of power. So we want to see our true friends in the mining sector,” Siliya said.
After her address, the media were excused from the meeting that was attended by personnel from the Copperbelt Energy Corporation and Zesco.
And according to her latest posting on Facebook shortly after she visited Indeni Oil Refinery on Tuesday, Siliya said the country could be forced to spend further [on power imports], as the country was not recording significant amounts of rains.
“It has not rained up to now, meaning the hydro power crisis continues, forcing government to spend 13.4 million dollars a month on 148MW imports since October,” she said.
Siliya said she had met electricity bulk buyers to discuss the power crisis so that they could come up with tough processes and decisions to that effect.
“While we import power and promote solar in the immediate and short term, our long-term goal is massive investment in the backbone infrastructure such as the electricity grid and a new fuel pipeline from Tanzania to be extended to Lusaka, Solwezi, Livingstone and Western provinces in the first phase. We are also looking at the possibility of a gas pipeline from Tanzania to Isoka or Chinsali,” the posting read.
“I have been here for two days touring Indeni and Tazama as part of my familiarisation tour. I also wanted to check firsthand our fuel stocks before the planned Indeni shutdown for maintenance on 15 November.”