Mining companies operating in Zambia need to reduce power consumption during the next two weeks when the power company shuts down for maintenance a generator at one of its hydro power stations, a spokesman said.
Zambia Electricity Supply Corp ( Zesco) will shut a 165-megawatt generator at the 600 MW Kariba North Bank hydro power station for two weeks from Tuesday, a move that will create a power deficit, said Zesco’s director of corporate affairs and business development manager, Bestty Phiri.
The deficit will necessitate load shedding, or power cuts, to balance the available generation capacity with demand, Phiri said.
Copper mines consume at least 60% of Zambia’s generated power.
Recently, Zambia was forced to import 100 MW of power from Mozambique to offset a deficit and last year it had to import 210 megawatts from Congo to meet a deficit during generator maintenance at another hydro plant.
Zesco is connected to Zimbabwe, Congo and Namibia, meaning it is able to engage in power trade and import power when faced with a deficit. However, the imports are subject to availability, as most countries in southern Africa are also facing deficits, Phiri said.
Zambia currently generates 1,400 MW, rising to 1,800 MW during peak periods.