Socio-Economic Effects of Load Shedding on Poor Urban Households and Small Business Enterprises in Lusaka, Zambia
- Bridget Bwalya Umar
- Chibuye Florence Kunda-Wamuwi
AbstractZambia has in the recent past witnessed an increase in economic activities which has led to an increased energy demand. This increased demand for energy has overshot the hydroelectric power generating capacity. Consequently, the national power utility company, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) instituted nationwide load shedding schedules that last up to 12 hours daily. This development has potentially far reaching social and economic effects on the lives and operations of poor urban residents and small scale business enterprises (SMEs) that routinely depend on stable access to electricity. With a focus on two low income residential areas, namely Ng’ombe and Kalingalinga residential areas, this study explored how residents and SMEs of the capital city, Lusaka have been affected by the recent spate of load shedding in the city. A total of 200 households and 14 SMEs from Ng’ombe and Kalingalinga were interviewed. Results show that load shedding, which occurs daily in the two study sites has caused massive disruptions to the daily lives and operations of the households and small businesses respectively. Over time, the load shedding phenomena has gotten worse and become a major political issue, reflecting the hardships for households and businesses in Zambia. On this basis, this study recommends that the government provides subsidies on alternative energy appliances such as portable diesel solar generators for small business enterprises and more favourable electric tariff rates for business that shift their manufacturing activities to night time so as to reduce demand for electricity during peak periods.
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