The Sunday News
Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Midlands Correspondent
POWER utility, Zesa has paid an additional US$890 000 to South Africa power company Eskom, as it steps up efforts to clear its debt and pave way for new power exports from the neighbouring country, an official confirmed last night
In an interview, Zesa Holdings acting group chief executive officer Engineer Patrick Chivaura said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) released US$890 000 to Eskom on Monday. Eng Chivaura said Eskom had set certain conditions for the country to start getting power and Zesa has since met all of them and is expecting to provide a bank guarantee by Tuesday, which will initialise the process of power supply to the country by the South African power utility.
“RBZ paid US$890 000 to Eskom for the liquidation of the debt that we have. Eskom asked us to meet certain conditions before the resumption of power supply to the country. I am happy to announce that we have met the conditions and we are looking forward to provide a bank guarantee by Tuesday. This will initialise the process of power supply by Eskom. I am very confident that the deal will materialise by next week,” he said.
Eng Chivaura said the new development will result in significant reduction in load-shedding.
“Once the deal materialises, we are expecting it to significantly reduce load-shedding. We will have power for more hours than we are having now,” he said.
Eng Chivaura said Zesa was also engaging Mozambican power utility, Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB) to also start providing power to Zimbabwe. If that materialises, it will provide huge relief for the country which has already seen its generation capacity at Kariba North and South going down drastically due to reduced water levels in Lake Kariba.
“We are also engaging HCB to see if we can liquidate their debt and also to see if we can import more electricity from them. We owe them a lot of money and we want to see how best we can settle that debt and start getting more power from them,” he said.
Last week Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi confirmed that the South African government was considering a proposal put forward to increase power exports to Zimbabwe after high level talks between the two countries’ energy ministers.
Zimbabwe owes Eskom US$27 million, this is after a payment of US$10 million, which it made last month as part of its commitment to pay its debt. Additional power imports from South Africa will ease the prevailing power shortages, which have seen the country embarking on a daily 18-hour electricity load-shedding schedule.