According to the head of the state-owned power utility Zesco, Zambia has begun rationing the supply of electricity to mining companies as a result of lower power production due to significant decline in lake Kariba water levels.
“We requested them to give away 180 MW but after negotiations we went down to 110 MW,” the utility’s chairman Vickson Ncube told reporters, referring to mining companies in Africa’s No. 2 copper producer.
According to the Zambezi River Authority, which oversees the dam, the lake’s water levels were below 1.66 percent of their usable storage on Monday for the Kariba North Bank Power Station in Zambia and the Kariba South Bank Power Station on the Zimbabwean side of the lake.
Reduced inflows from the Zambezi river and its tributaries, as well as extensive use by power producing companies in Zimbabwe and Zambia, have caused the lake’s water levels to drop.
While the south bank power station in Zimbabwe has a capacity of 1,050 MW, the north bank power station at the Kariba Dam has an installed capacity of 1,080 MW. More than 75% of Zambia’s electricity is produced from hydropower.
According to Ncube, as water levels rise and full generation is anticipated to restart in March, electricity rationing is anticipated to be eliminated by the middle of the following month.
Due to the hazard posed by the lake’s low water levels, Zesco increased the number of hours it stopped supplying to home customers last week from six to twelve.
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