The periodic platform for exchange of information between Zesco and ZNFU continues to serve as a useful avenue for interface between farmers and Zesco. At a meeting held this week, farmers’ representatives present from some of the farming communities all complained about the poor supply of power. In Mkushi, the position was that although Zesco had improved its response to faults, low voltage problems persist and reports of burnt motors are common. The report from Chisamba East revealed that some farmers had recorded wheat losses because of poor power supply that had hit the area while the situation in Chisamba West which is serviced by the new Roma line had improved power supply but voltage problems have since emerged with more consumers being added to the line. In Kabwe, the situation was reported to have improved after the area was connected to Lunsemfwa but problems of old power lines and lack of transport remain a source of concern. Reports from Lusaka South/West, Ngwerere and Mazabuka all reported problems of power cuts.During the meeting Zesco responded by sharing information on the upgrades of transformers taking place in some areas plus other long term plans through installation of bigger transformers /new substations, tapping of power from Mozambique through the Pensulo-Msoro line and the investments in new power generation plants, which are in the pipeline. See some highlights below;
Chisamba; Fig Tree 16 MVA will be replaced by a 30 MVA by mid-October, the works have been planned for 16th October.
Mkushi; There are several upgrading plans earmarked for this area which include upgrading the current 2 by 10MVA at Mkushi central to be replaced by 2 by 20 MVA by next irrigation period; upgrading of the Pensulo-Msoro line which will improve the voltage and pave the way for tapping of power from Caborabassa in Mozambique at reasonable cost; Zesco is also in discussion with the World Bank to support initiatives to improve power supply in Mkushi. Zesco undertook to provide details of upgrade plans with timeframes for this area which will be relayed to members in due course.
Ngwerere; the Chongwe substation was reported to be out of operation hence the area was being fed from the Roma substation which was contributing to the excess load on the Ngwerere line hence the increase in power cuts in this area.
Kariba North Bank (KNB); the Kariba North Bank 4th machine which has been out of operation for more than 30 months will finally become operational in November this year. Zesco extended an invitation to the farmers to visit the KNB to coincide with the commissioning of this machine and to see progress made on the KNB extension project. A formal communication should be forth coming from Zesco in this regard and will be circulated when the dates are firmed up.