Yesterday, as we had been warned, our 4 hour daily power cuts were doubled, leaving us without electricity for a whole 8 hours. One wonders where this will lead us. With Zambia’s economy already stumbling this is like cutting oxygen to a patient on life support.
We’ve been told the extension of the load shedding is due to a fault at MCL power station, however we’ve had to put up with daily cuts of 4 hours for a long while already and the question is; is it all because water levels are low in the Kariba dam? Or could these crippling power cuts have been prevented by opening up to privatisation, investing in renewable sources like sun and wind, and rooting out corrupt factors in the energy sector?
Hard to say with the lack of transparency, all government is saying is that load shedding is done to avoid having to import electricity, sounds to me they’ve run out of purchasing power too. Wouldn’t you, as a government, want to do everything in your power (pun intended) to keep the production (what little there is) running? And what about the farmers needing irrigation to finish their (wheat) crops? We are already seeing mealiemeal, the staple food, at staggering prices, and this could lead to further shortages and increased prices on bread among other things.
Those are the two first major effected areas that come to mind. But the “side effects” of these power cuts are so many. Nobody is spared, not even hospitals, and public hospitals don’t have money to run generators. Deforestation, already at alarming highs, will further increase as demand for charcoal will skyrocket. People who can afford will buy and run generators for their companies and even domestic needs, these are run by petrol.
Putting more pressure on our environment is the last thing we needed to do now.
We hold our breath and hope for the best, as we sit in candlelight.
Update 03-10-19: we are now on 12 hour daily load shedding and we all just wonder how to move forward at this point.