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Zesco to Reconnect Power Line to Zim

May 12, 2008 - The Times of Zambia - All Africa Global Media

ZESCO will connect the 330 kilovolts inter-connectivity power line from Kariba Power Station to Zimbabwe as a way to ensure reliability.

Kariba North Bank technical manager, Wesley Lwiindi said Zesco would not switch on the high voltage power line connecting the two countries because it wanted to find a lasting technical solution to avoid Zambia experiencing another blackout like was the case in January this year.

He told a delegation of officials from Zesco and the Ministry of Energy touring rehabilitation works at Kariba North Bank Power Station and Kafue Gorge that Zesco was, however, holding consultations with the Zimbabwean power supply company over the matter.

The delegation, which is on a two-day tour, is being led by secretary to the treasury, Evans Chibiliti, who is accompanied by Energy Permanent Secretary, Peter Mumba and other senior Government officers.

Mr Lwiindi said the inter-power connectivity cable between Zimbabwe and Zambia would remain switched off until Zesco was sure of its reliability.

"We are holding discussions with officials from the power company in Zimbabwe. We are actually also waiting for a report from these officials for us to determine how safe it is to reconnect this power line," he said.

Mr Lwiindi said the rehabilitation works would be completed before the end of this year.

He said the major challenge the plant faced was long tendering procedures, increased project costs, difficulties in raising funds and increased periods to implement the projects.

He said once the machines were rehabilitated, it would give the Zesco generators an extended life-span, smooth and reliability as well as more uprating to the convenience of the customers.

Mr Lwiindi commended the Government for the support the plant was receiving.

And Zesco finance director, Moses Zulu said once the power rehabilitation project (PRP) was completed, Zesco would increase its revenue by more than 30 per cent.

He said Zesco was owed about K300 billionby various customers, mostly domestic consumers.

Rehabilitation works of the Kariba North Bank and Kafue Gorge power stations would increase their generating capacity to 120 and 90 megawatts, respectively.

And Mr Chibiliti expressed happiness at the manner Government, Zesco and cooperating partners were intervening to resolve the power deficit Zambia and other SADC countries were facing.

Mr Chibiliti said the Government would continue to support the rehabilitation works embarked on by Zesco.

"The single largest threat we are currently facing in our development is this power deficit. This is a matter of urgency.

"A solution has to be found and found now. I am impressed with the works being done and I can assure you that the Government will support you at every point," he said.

He said Zambia could not allow the current power deficit to disrupt its chance of developing in view of increased investments in various sectors of the economy.

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