Kapiri Mposhi District Commissioner, Smart Mwila has called for intensified promotion of alternative sources of energy in the energy mix to counter the overreliance on hydroelectricity which has led to increased electricity load management in the country.

Mr. Mwila has urged the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) to develop guidelines and render technical assistance to investors showing interest in the generation of renewable energy to cushion the impact of overdependence on hydroelectricity.

Officiating at the ERB Energy Awareness Meeting in Kapiri Mposhi, Mr. Mwila said the shift towards alternative sources of energy from hydroelectricity should be supported as this was in line with Zambia’s Seventh National Development Plan (SNDP), Vision 2030 and the National Energy Policy of 2019.

“Load management by ZESCO has been necessitated by increased consumer demand of electricity and poor rainfall patterns experienced in the recent past years …to counter this there is need to enhance the energy mix or promote the alternative energy sources,” Mr. Mwila said.

He said the government continues to waive taxes on imported solar and other energy efficient equipment and remains committed to providing an enabling environment for doing business in the energy sub sector.

Mr. Mwila urged energy consumers to take advantage of the tax waivers to explore alternative sources of energy such as solar and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

Meanwhile, several stakeholders in Kapiri Mposhi district have called on the ERB to move in and curb the rampant illegal fuel vending popularly known as “changanya” in the district.

The stakeholders have complained that the illegal fuel vending business being conducted openly especially along the Great North Road has gone on unabated for a long time.

Kawama Residential Area Representative, Francis Mwape noted that the illegal fuel being sold by vendors was posing a danger to surrounding communities and engines for vehicle as it was usually mixed with other dangerous substances.

“Why has it been so difficult for ERB to curb the illegal fuel vending along the Great North Road. This fuel is being sold to motorists openly to the detriment of our vehicles and is a serious danger to surrounding communities in case of fire,” Mr. Mwape said.

Mr. Mwape noted that other than being a risk, illegal fuel vending was also robbing the government of revenue on petroleum products.

But ERB Consumer Affairs Manager, Chipambeso Kasese said the ERB has instituted task teams comprising Zambia Police, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and other security wings to curtail illegal fuel vending in the country.

Mr. Kasese stated that illegal fuel vending was not only perpetrated along the highway but also by some licensed filing stations that procure fuel stocks from illegal sources and sell it legitimately at their filling stations to unsuspecting customers.

Mr. Kasese added that through the Fuel Marking (FM) programme introduced in 2018 the ERB was now able to curb fuel adulteration and ensure that transit fuel destined for other countries through Zambia does not end up being dumped and sold in the country.

 “illegal fuel vendors don’t have licenses so as a regulator we cannot take on them head-on… nevertheless we have in place a task team comprising ERB officers, Zambia Police and Drug Enforcement Commission and other players where we are now trying to tackle this vice… in addition we have a fuel marking initiative set up as a way to curb illegal fuel vending because illegal fuel vending is not just along the highway but at licensed filling stations also,” Mr. Kasese said.

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