Zimbabwe blocked from power imports over US$80m debt
Zimbabwe needs to raise US$80 million to clear arrears with its regional electricity suppliers before it can ramp up imports to ease a critical power shortage.
Currently, the country can only import up to 50MW from South Africa’s Eskom and a maximum of 100MW from Mozambique’s HCB. A total of 450MW is available, but only if Zimbabwe pays what it owes the two firms.
“Zesa owes US$80 million to regional suppliers (Eskom of South Africa and HCB of Mozambique) in order to unlock capacity for increased imports,” says Zesa Holdings spokesperson Fullard Gwasira.
“Sister utilities expect us to provide a workable payment plan and pay for current consumption in full. A good rainfall season also will come in handy as it will restore the live level of the dam,” he said.
Raising US$80 million for power imports is likely to put even more pressure on Zimbabwe’s economy, and specifically on the foreign currency market.
The absence of imported power had not been felt in Zimbabwe after the country added 300MW to Kariba South early in 2018, after expansion work by China’s Sinohydro.
But the impact is now being felt after Kariba, which provides 65% of the country’s energy, cut supplies by over 60% as water supplies reach alarming levels in the dam.
This has left Zimbabweans facing power cuts of up to 10 hours a day.
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