ZESCO Excels

Written By: The Lowdown - Jan• 31•13

The rain is here. The electricity has gone.


As I typed the eight words above I did have the thought that those words alone say it all! But my readers expect more than that.


Over the last eight to ten weeks there seems to have been increased load shedding. Certainly where I live, we experienced load shedding both morning and evening every second day.  What was not surprising was that the SMS advance notifications that I receive from ZESCO were not actually in sync with the load shedding. As an example, on Wednesday I would be told that our area would experience load shedding on Thursday but the reality was that we experienced it on Wednesday! This was no different to the notifications we received notifying us of maintenance – the maintenance was done the following day.


And then the rain started and the electricity disappeared.  It is not hard to understand this. Decades of crisis management in this state run institution where one has to not only question the competence of the management but also the competence of the engineers and technicians. Without a doubt, if we looked closely, we would find some highly competent managers, engineers and technicians. But we would also find many incompetent personnel who are not qualified for the job and will never be qualified as they have been given a job because they are ‘somebody’s brother’. Nepotism at its best!


Take a look around at the installations.  Few joints have more that a temporary twisted wire.  You may even find some repaired with ‘maleggin’, the great Zambian ‘fix it all’.


Just last week, as a result of a medium storm, we were without Zesco for over twenty hours. When it was restored, it lasted for less than two hours before it went again. The call centre were on the ball and able to tell me that one of the breakers had been burnt.  But the same call centre told my neighbour that the breaker had been eaten by a rat.  A rat?  All I can say is that I smell a rat and now have confirmation of my long held suspicion that what we hear from Zesco is often not reality.  But I guess that it makes a change from the more usual answer of ‘there has been a tripping’.  Well of course there has been a tripping.  Anyone with only a modicum of common sense knows that ‘tripping’ is what happens when there is an electrical problem; that is the safety mechanism built into electrical installations to prevent something worse happening.


But forget the electrical installations.  How often have I tried to call the call centre to report a fault and the phone is just not answered.  Yet you get the recording which indicates that the phone is working. I even had the experience a few weeks ago when after ten plus attempts to get through to the faults number, I used another number which I found on the Zesco website for Faults. This number went through to the Call Centre Supervisor.  I explained that I had been trying to get through to Faults but without success upon which he told me that he was the Supervisor, but no, he could not take my report and that I should ‘just keep trying’.  What sort of Supervisor is that, I ask?


But I am the eternal optimist and like to think that Government has a plan for Zesco that will see an improvement in the ‘service’ which they are currently delivering. But in order for them to do this, they have to not only weed out the incompetent members of staff, but also change the mindset of those that will escape the pruning exercise. This will take time and we need to give Government time as it is not only Zesco but many other Government, quasi-Government and Parastatal organisations which need attention. As you will have read in the daily press, a Presidential knuckle rapping because of no water at the UTH resulted in water being on tap the very next day.  Yet the Presidential knuckle rapping regarding load shedding only resulted in an increase in load shedding and power outages.  Perhaps it is time to drop the ruler and pick up the sjambok!


In the meantime, I suggest that you do as I did a few years ago – take yourself down to one of the other suppliers of inverters and batteries and install a system that at least keeps some of your lights on in the house so that you are not plunged into darkness every second evening.


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.