South African power imports logical – expert

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 12:50:54 +0000

By Bennie Mundando

HE proposal by Zambia to import electricity from South Africa remains the country’s only logical option for now as some independent power producers (IPPs) are asking for higher tariffs than what South Africa offers, the Energy Forum Zambia has observed.

EFZ chairperson Johnstone Chikwanda said the forum’s research showed IPPs were selling power to Zesco at a price higher than the import price from the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP), adding that independent power producers did not necessarily translate into lower tariffs.

Mr. Chikwanda observed that attacks on President Edgar Lungu’s proposal to import electricity from South Africa was not supporting local investment in the energy sector.

He said the attacks on President Lungu were not justified because the Head of State had pushed hard to diversify the energy sector by signing a number of memoranda of understanding (MoU) to support local investments.

“A number of power projects in Zambia are going to take a lot of time to come on line. Therefore, Zambia will continue to rely on South Africa for some. We know that some IPPs wanting to set up power projects in Zambia are asking for higher tariffs than what is available from South Africa, especially when negotiated at bilateral level.

“Our research has revealed that some IPPs in Zambia are selling electricity to Zesco at a price higher than the import price from SAPP and therefore setting up new plants especially IPPs does not necessarily translate into lower power tariffs,” Mr. Chikwanda said.

He explained that the arguments by some sections of society that President Lungu was against local investment in the energy sector were unfounded because the Head of State had pushed hard to diversify the sector by signing a number of protocols to that effect.

“In our opinion, not every project should be supported just because Zambia must become a net exporter of electricity if the electricity from that facility shall be more expensive than what is available in the region. We know that some technologies being proposed for Zambia will produce very expensive electricity such that the country is better off importing,” he said.

He charged that attacks on President Lungu were ‘‘curved out of context and not absorbed’’ in terms of regional and continental integration ethos which accompanied President Lungu’s discussions in South Africa.

Author

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button