- Zimbabwe’s Minister of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa announced yesterday that an agreement with South Africa’s state-owned power utility Eskom has been reached for the weekly supply of 400MW of electricity, starting this week.
- In terms of this agreement, Zimbabwe has commenced payment of US$890 000 (R13.3m at current rates) per week towards the settlement of its debts to Eskom.
- Eskom has confirmed that supply will be ramped up from the current 50MW to 350MW on a non-firm basis, meaning that when when South Africa has load-shedding in the country, any non-firm exports are reduced to zero and firm exports are reduced proportionally in accordance to the load-shedding stage.”
In October 2018, the new Zim minister of finance put an end to central bank financing of electricity imports. This triggered payment default to both Eskom and Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB). Central bank governor John Mangudya said the apex bank had been funding power imports for the past five years through the use of a government overdraft facility.
As a result of the non payement, Eskom has reduced power exports to Zimbabwe in May from 450MW to just 50MW pending full payment. This prompted the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission & Distribution Company (ZETDC) to implemented a wide scale load shedding programme plunging the country into darkness.
The country has also been forced to cut power generation at their Kariba Dam power plant due to low water levels. The dam, on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, is only 34% full and cannot generate electricity at optimal capacity. The utility is also facing generation constraints at Hwange Power Station
More related news: The Minister also recently announced that he is contemplating cancelling over 30 Independent Power Producer contracts because the projects have never materialised. Read more
Author: Bryan Groenendaal