Blackouts cost Egenco K24 billion
Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) lost revenue amounting to K23.8 billion during the 14-month period when the State-run electricity generation company had its Kapichira hydro power plant down, Times Business can reveal.
In an interview, Egenco spokesperson Moses Gwaza said the company makes, on average, K1.7 billion a month from the plant after selling the electricity generated.
This follows revelations that the company spent over K10 billion of its revenue to erect a temporary dyke in order to resume electricity generation at the power plant.
Gwaza said it was necessary to spend such an amount to restore electricity generation as the country was in dire need of electricity in all sectors.
He said the amount is justifiable considering that they reconstructed a 1000-meter dyke and did reinforcements.
“The cost of production for industry was presumably high, social services were always affected when there was no power. Small-scale businesses were equally affected when there was no power.
“In general, people’s livelihood is heavily disturbed when there are blackouts in the country. So, spending K10 billion to restore people’s livelihood is very much justifiable,” he said.
He said the firm had to ferry rock material, sand, gravel and procurement cement for some sections.
It also hired equipment; about 50 tippers, 19 excavators, dossers, water bowser, jack hammers and others, and we were paying for these equipment for day and night shifts.
“We had over 200 people working in shifts day and night and all these had to be fed, transported and be paid for. Therefore, you may wish to look at the bigger picture of the whole project other than the figure. Actually, we saved many billions by doing the work on our own rather than if it were done by a contractor,” Gwaza said.
He added that the structure is expected to last until the damaged dam is reconstructed.
In a separate interview, Shire Valley Transformation Programme Coordinator Stanley Khaila said the firm is putting up a coffer dam which is expected to be ready by September this year.
“We expect this structure to be ready by September but that is dependent on the availability of cement and fuel availability. We are using about 120 tonnes of cement a day and if supply is affected it means we may have to halt construction; similarly, with fuel supply.
“This structure is not redundant because the dyke that Egenco has put up is temporary and cannot stand for a long time but what we are constructing will have a lifespan of four years, after which we expect that a permanent dam would have been constructed,” Khaila said.
Flash floods during Tropical Storm Ana early in 2022 caused extensive damage to Kapichira’s dam and fuse plug resulting in the necessity to draw down the reservoir, putting the most downstream plant on the Shire River cascade out of operation.
The plant only resumed operations last week.