THE fact that load management has become a norm in most urban settings has somehow overshadowed the fact that over 60% of the population are still without electricity.
As Government continues on its nationwide development agenda, more and more districts have continued to benefit and enjoy the benefits of modern infrastructure in many places that have been lagging behind since 1964.
The connection of Rufunsa district to the national electricity grid is a monumental achievement and has been appreciated by a local civic leader who points out how basic service provision will be improved.
Chintimbwi ward councillor Josias Malunga observed that the electrification of the district had already shown that it was a game changer that will yield great social and economic gains for the district.
Many institutions had been relying on generators to power computers and equipment but this will now be a thing of the past and more importantly will reduce the cost of operations, thereby freeing up resources for other developmental works.
In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is heartening that more districts will be able to contribute to the economic recovery now that services are being modernised.
Health services are one key sector that are often impacted by the lack of electricity with stories of operations being done by candle light after generators run out of fuel.
The connection to the grid will greatly alleviate some of the pressure that health institutions may be under, as they prepare to manage Covid-19 cases.
Malunga said that the electrification of essential service institutions such as the only hospital in the area, Mpanshya Mission hospital was a great boost to his ward and district as a whole.
He observed that the electrification of the institution had greatly improved the execution of important activities such as in-theatre procedures at the hospital, especially in light of the number of patients that thronged to the facility.
Adding that the institution was servicing the whole district and was being frequented by people from outside the district because of the quality of care.
He said that it was therefore not possible to efficiently manage a huge pool of patients when the hospital was using generators.
He said that as much as generators were an alternative source of energy, it was very expensive to run certain equipment at the facility.
Malunga also thanked the government for helping to enhance healthcare provision at the facility. According to him, health facilities, schools and other institutions in the district that had already been connected were already reaping the benefits of the development.
We agree with the councilor that the electrification of the area would act as an incentive for investment.
It is hoped that development strategies undertaken by councils will be mimicked and replicated in other soon to be connected areas.
The push for local innovation becomes more practical as areas are opened up by modern infrastructure. The potential to grow new cities and find home grown solutions becomes more realistic as these developments continue.
However, we are mindful of acts of vandalism that sometimes mar the progress made and it is in this vein that we urge Rufunsa residents to be vigilant and protect the electricity infrastructure.
Access to electricity at a domestic level is also dependent on practical connection rates and it is hoped that Zesco will extend payment plans that will allow more households to benefit from the electricity service.
Without a doubt, the electrification of Rufunsa shines a light on the positive strides being made by government to leave no one behind on the development agenda.