August 6, 2019

Breakthrough in Zim-SA electricity talks

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Zimbabwe will start receiving 400MW of power from South Africa’s power utility Eskom, after agreeing on a payment plan to clear a longstanding debt.

The Zimbabwe Government, through ZESA, will pay Eskom US$890 000 a week, to clear the debt.

The country’s Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi briefed Cabinet on the development on Tuesday.

“In terms of this arrangement, Government through Treasury, has commenced the payment of an amount of US$890 000 per week towards the settlement of its debt to Eskom,” reads a statement from the Zimbabwe Government on Cabinet deliberations.

Cabinet was also briefed that the same formula would be applied in negotiating with Mozambican power company, Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) for additional power supply.

Zimbabwe has been grappling with power challenges since October last year owing to depleted water levels at Kariba dam, which have affected power generation capacity.

Eskom and HCB which had been supplying power to Zimbabwe withheld the service due to non-payment.

Zimbabwe requires 1 800MW to meet a winter peak demand of electricity but the country is able to generate a paltry 750 MW, resulting in massive power cuts.

The additional 400 MW will see Zimbabwe’s power utility supplying 1 150 MW to ease the pressure on companies and households which were enduring lengthy spells of electricity blackouts.  

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