Zambia has a power deficit resulting from poor rainfall recorded during the 2014 rainy season. The poor rainfall which our country recorded, resulting in low water levels at the sources of generation of electricity at Itezhi- Tezhi reservoir and Kariba Dam, has in turn resulted in electricity deficit, which the country should brace for.
The impact of power deficit in the country will be felt by both the domestic and commercial consumers particularly the mines. This is because mines consume 57 percent of power generated on daily basis.
In the previous years, Zambia grappled with the problem of load shedding despite the country receiving above normal rainfall. With the poor rainfall pattern which was experienced during last rainy season, the country should indeed brace for increased load shedding.
According to Zesco spokesperson Henry Kapataâ€™s recent statement that the power utility firm is owed K477 million by consumers in unpaid bills, and this requires urgent attention to recover the debt.
This scenario has stifled the operations of the utility firm. This is because money plays a pivotal role in the firmâ€™s operations.
To recover the debt which consumers owe Zesco, the firm has come with a promotion called â€œLipila Nkongole.â€ This promotion is aimed at recovering the debt being owed by consumers of electricity.
This promotion comes with prizes such as television sets, cars and house which the consumers stand to win.
The money realised will help in the operations of the utility company.
Production of goods and services are mostly dependent on the availability of electricity.
In light of the prevailing power deficit, manufacturing firms will be adversely affected.
The quantity of goods produced will be reduced, as a matter of fact, the power deficit will negatively impact the mining firms in the following ways:
The production capacity will be lower than expected.
The generated revenue from the mining sector will be affected. This is because the country loses on average US$9,000 for each minute that power is interrupted at the mine.
The reduction in the production of minerals and a general drop in revenue may result in most workers being rendered jobless. This will impact adversely in the living conditions at household level.
The drop in revenue generated from the mining sector will affect the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).This is because mining is one of the major money spinners for the country.
The national economy will be affected to some extent as the country will not earn much foreign exchange from export of the minerals.
The domestic consumers will be inconvenienced through excessive load shedding.
The utility firm has tried to put in place a number of interventions to curtail the imminent impact of power deficit but, to no avail.
Worse still, load shedding has become the order of the day.
The rationing of electricity will save the turbine machines from being damaged due to overworking. The power utility company has also embarked on a campaign dubbed â€œSwitch and save.â€
The campaign is aimed at sensitising the domestic consumers to ration electricity by switching off the electric gadgets when they are not in use.
Consumers are also sensitised to switch off bulbs in unoccupied rooms. The consumers are further urged to use energy saving bulbs instead of the ordinary ones.
The problem of power deficit has been exacerbated by the natural factors and in this case, poor rainfall and it should not be attributed to the Government of the day, the Patriotic Front.
The Government has no control over such a natural cause but, it can help to mitigate the impact by instituting some measures like rationing of power as the case is at the moment.
The impact of power deficit will be felt by domestic and corporate consumers in the short term and the long term period.
This will affect our national economy to some extent as alluded earlier.
It is, therefore, imperative to strictly adhere to the guidelines being given by Zesco in the bid to mitigate the impact of the looming power deficit.
The other panacea to the prevailing power deficit apart from the above measures is for the Government to opt for importation of power from other countries in the region which have surplus power supply.
Save the little power that we have by switching off as advised by Zesco when not in use to mitigate the impact.
The author is an accountant and a business executive based in Lusaka.