Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 21 July 2008 – Zambian state power utility Zesco has urged the country’s copper producers to minimise power consumption during peak demand periods, and has undertaken to step up rationing to other consumers because of problems with generators.
Reuters reports from here that Zesco’s efforts to upgrade generators and other equipment have led to power shortages that have sporadically affected copper and cobalt mines, which are vital to the economy of the Zambian economy.
Two generators at Kafue Gorge power station were taken off the system after a transformer developed a fault last week, Zesco spokeswoman Monica Chisela told Reuters. They were due to have been shut down for routine maintenance at the end of this month.
“In situations like this, we ask the mines to reduce consumption during peak demand if they can, but if they cannot we will provide a dedicated power demand,” Chisela said, adding that power supply to the mines would not be rationed. Domestic consumers will bear the brunt of increased power rationing until December, she added.
These cuts come barely two weeks after Zesco resumed some exports of electricity to Zimbabwe, Botswana and other African countries, Reuters revealed.
Zambia, like many of its neighbours, is struggling to find enough electricity to meet growing demand. It is exporting up to 300 megawatts of power at night, when electricity usage falls among commercial and residential consumers.