ZIMBABWE owes South Africa’s power utility ESKOM more than $12 million and is struggling to clear the debt, it has emerged.
Harare does not generate enough electricity to meet its needs and relies on imports from the region to plug the supply gap.
However, with its economy in the tank and government struggling with its finances, supplies from the region often come under threat due to unpaid bills.
The country’s supply deal with Eskom is nearing its end and energy minister Samuel Undenge held talks company officials on Monday aimed at reaching agreement.
The talks also focused on clearing Zimbabwe’s debt which has accrued over a number of years.
Undenge, during a press briefing after closed door meetings with South African envoy to Zimbabwe Mphakama Mbete and Eskom officials Monday in Harare, said the Eskom debt was reducing without being specific on figures.
“Zimbabwe will honour its payment arrangement but, the debt is reducing. We have been assured with a continuous supply of electricity with Eskom.
“We want a situation where we will continue with no load shading and have power supply throughout the country,” Undenge told reporters.
The country’s power utility ZESA is owed more than $600 million by consumers and recently introduced prepaid electricity meters to curb revenue losses.
Undenge urged Zimbabweans to pay their electricity bills to allow the country to clear its debt with Eskom so that the country’s guaranteed power supplies.
Zimbabwe’s total power generation capacity amounts to 1,940 megawatts against demand of 2,200 megawatts leaving a deficit of nearly 600 megawatts.
Currently Kariba, Hwange and Munyathi power stations generate 1,600 megawatts daily for which is also being complimented by imports from South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique.
Meanwhile, local electricity generation is poised to improve following construction of the new Kariba South power station which is expected to add 150 megawatts to the national grid.