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Zambians told to prepare for half a day without electricity

The government of Zambia has told its citizens to prepare for half a day without electricity. Through parent company, Zesco, the government says the move, dubbed load shedding, is inevitable in a bid to share available resources.

Zambians have been complaining over the frequent power cuts, saying the move was not only inconveniencing them but affecting the economy’s growth.

“Zesco Limited will with effect from Wednesday 4th January 2023, adjust the hours of load shedding to twelve hours daily, until further notice,” the government announced.

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“At present, the power station’s generating capacity has been reduced from its installed 1080MegaWatts (MW) to below 400MW. Furthermore, the 150MW generator outage at Maamba Colleries Limited Power Plant for routine annual maintenance from 4 January until 20 January 2023 has exacerbated the situation,” read part of its statement.

Although the Southern African country is the highest producer of copper, it has struggled with imports and exports with its reliance on the Port of Dar es Salaam.

President Hakainde Hichilema has in recent times blamed his predecessor Edgar Lungu for messing the economy through extravagant borrowing, especially from China.

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Land-locked Zambia now joins neighbouring South Africa on the list of countries actively pursuing load shedding.

Since the year 2007, South Africa has experienced multiple periods of load-shedding as the country’s demand for electricity exceeded its ability, notably Eskom’s ability, to supply it.

During these periods the power is rationed between different electrical grid areas across the country and within municipal areas. With areas experiencing power outages typically lasting two to four hours.

This is the second time in just a few years that Zambia has had to introduce 12-hour daily load-shedding cycles. Meanwhile, in neighbouring Zimbabwe, the national power company has had to implement 18 to 20-hour load-shedding in 2019 and again from late last year up till now.

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