By James Kunda
LUSAKA, Zambia (AA) - A severe energy crisis has hit Zambia and Zimbabwe following a reduction in water levels at the Kariba Dam.
Six hours of daily power outages will be implemented in Zambia with effect from Dec. 15, Zambian Energy Minister Peter Kapala said.
"The Zambezi River Authority has asked Zambia to cut generation to 800MW from an installed capacity of 1080MW, while Zimbabwe has been asked to cut to 300MW from 600MW. If the current power generation and subsequent water utilization continues, the remaining water for power at the Kariba will not be sufficient for power generation beyond mid-December, 2022,” Kapala said.
In a ministerial statement to parliament in the capital Lusaka on Friday, Kapala said Africa's second top copper producer will now resort to power imports from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) and complete new infrastructure while diversifying the energy mix to cushion the deficit.
"Zambia currently exports 400MW to SAPP under bilateral agreements and this will have to continue despite the deficit because the entire region is in a power crisis," he added.
Zambia's saw the worst energy crisis in 2015/16 when the country experienced at least eight hours of daily load shedding.
As an intervention, the country resorted to power imports from diverse sources, including Türkiye's Karpowership which docks at the port of Mozambique.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, is expected to rely on the Hwange thermal power station as an alternative.
Load-shedding hours could be a lot worse than in the Siamese neighborhood across Victoria Falls, a scenario that further places businesses at risk of multiple losses.