price; president

Pres. Lungu puts foot down on day five of power blackout

The president of Zambia, Edgar Lungu, got involved personally to bring a speedy resolution to the power failure that has crippled half of Zambia, wreaking havoc among poultry and dairy farmers  and small scale agro-processing plants.

“President Lungu ordered us to get on the ground and ensure that power is restored by tomorrow (Thursday),” Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe who was in the company of Energy Minister David Mabumba, told the local media yesterday after visiting the site where the 330 kilovolt transmission line is being repaired.

“We don’t want to be over-ambitious and say power will be reconnected in some hours because the extent of the damage is huge,” he stressed.

Mabumba revealed that the repair of the damage will cost the power utilityZESCO about US$ 1.5 million.

“Most of the materials had to be imported as this required a huge overhaul of the infrastructure. I’m also re-assured by the site engineer that we will be on course to restore power by tomorrow. We are concerned and sorry that many businesses, families and farmers have been affected, and we want to normalise the situation,” said Mabumba who had earlier given a ministerial statement in parliament.

The Eastern, Northern, Luapula, Muchinga and parts of Central provinces have been in darkness since Saturday when lightning damaged a 330 kilovolt cable in the Central Province’s Kabwe town, about 68 kilometres north of the capital Lusaka.

The power damage has left farmers reeling from losses. “The way ZESCO is behaving, very soon they will chase all consumers to solar or gen sets. It happened to some African country in 1992,” said farmer Stanley Kasanga.

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