Zimbabwe is discussing a new contract to carry on importing power from South African utility Eskom to make up for deficits in generating capacity at its Kariba hydropower station, the nation’s energy minister said.
In January last year Eskom approved a one-year agreement to vend up to 300 MW of capacity to Zimbabwe, which was facing sharp deficits of electricity caused by low water levels in the Kariba dam. Production capacity fell to a low of 275 MW from 750 MW, causing extensive blackouts.
Samuel Undenge told the media after a meeting between Eskom and state power utility ZESA Holdings that the two utilities were still talking about how much Eskom would supply to Zimbabwe, adding that imports would be paid for upfront.
“I don’t want scheduled power cuts to return and we have been guaranteed of continuous support from Eskom so that we go on to have the nation supplied with power,” he said.
Administrators from Eskom and ZESA did not give a statement.
Undenge said consumers should pay their bills to ZESA, to facilitate the company to clear up its Eskom debt, which stood at US $40-million at the end of February.
ZESA is owed $1-billion in unpaid bills by clients, including government branches.
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, (ZESA) officially called ZESA Holdings (Pvt) LTD., is a publicly owned company whose duty is to produce, convey, and distribute electricity in Zimbabwe.
It has organized this mission by delegation to its subsidiaries, the energy generating company Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).
Additional subsidiaries are investment branch ZESA Enterprises (ZENT) and internet supplier PowerTel Communications (Pvt) ltd. ZESA is the sole electricity generator and supplier for the public grid.
For many years the company has been unsuccessful in producing sufficient power to meet demands.
ZESA generated an anticipated 8.89 bill kWh in 2007, while demand was expected to 10.89 kWh. ZESA represents Zimbabwe in the Southern African Power Pool.