By Patience Nhamburo
South Africa’s power utility, Eskom, wants Zimbabwe to first clear its debt in order to access more electricity.
Harare is experiencing crippling power shortages due to reduced generation capacity at Kariba Hydro Power Station, and intends to import 400MW on top of the 50MW it is already receiving from South Africa.
A US$33 million debt, however, stands in the way.
Zimbabwe also owes Mozambique’s Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa US$35 million.
Responding to questions from ZTN News via email on Thursday, Eskom said: “We have tabled our requirements to Zesa… Eskom’s position is that the outstanding debt must be settled in full.
“There has been both formal and informal contact. Zesa was scheduled to have a meeting with Eskom on 6 June, with a number of government representatives present, but the meeting was cancelled after the Zimbabwean delegation failed to make it to the meeting.”
Zesa Holdings spokesperson Fullard Gwasira could not be drawn to comment, while Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Minister, Advocate Fortune Chasi, told media on Tuesday that authorities in Harare were committed to settling the bill.
Advocate Chasi said, “There is no quick fix. If we pay what we owe Eskom and HCB, it will enable us to get significantly higher (supplies of electricity).”