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Zesco bemoans Southern Province electrocutions, vandalism

A BARBERSHOP owner Watson Nyirenda (right) reacts to Zesco spokesperson Henry Kapata (middle) who pounced on 18 shop owners at Chilulu Market for illegally connecting one prepaid metre box. The vendors were advised to immediately apply for this facility separately. PICTURE: BRIAN MALAMA.

NANCY MWAPE, Livingstone
ZESCO has bemoaned the high levels of electrocution in Southern Province resulting from vandalising cables or transformers.
The power utility firm has since engaged civic leaders from Livingstone and Kazungula district to help mitigate against vandalism.
Addressing civic leaders in Livingstone last week, Zesco spokesperson Henry Kapata said following the boom in the housing sector, the company has recorded an increase in electrical fires due to unsafe wiring which may result in loss of life or property.
Mr Kapata warned against using telephone cables and plastic papers for insulation and urged civic leaders to warn citizens against constructing structures and undertaking activities under power lines.
He said Zesco has noted a practice where citizens connect their laundry lines to electricity poles which he said was dangerous.
“Tampering with Zesco installations through acts of vandalism of equipment such as transformers, cables and pylon support materials is illegal, unsafe and can cause serious injury or death,” Mr Kapata said.
And explaining the recent 16 percent tariff adjustment, Zesco principal business development officer Mchokoliso Tembo said the move towards cost reflective tariffs is necessary to ensure the growth of industry and nation at large.
Mr Tembo said the tariff adjustments are a balancing act where the needs of the power utility and its consumers need to be considered.
“Zesco imports most of its machinery. Between 2010 and 2013, we saw an exchange loss of 16.69 percent of the Kwacha to the dollar. This year, it depreciated to an additional 12 percent,” he said.
The Energy Regulation Board in May this year announced its decision to award Zesco a 16 percent tariff increase effective July.

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