No more blackouts? – Energy minister seals Zambia and Mozambique power import deals

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By Thandiwe Garusa

ENERGY and Power Development Minister, Soda Zhemu has announced Zimbabwe has sealed a new power import deal with Zambia while it has retained others with Mozambique and South Africa.

Both contracts were facing termination as the nation struggled to meet payments obligations to the two neighbours.

Zimbabwe’s power import contracts with Mozambique’s Electricidade de Mocambique and Zambia’s ZESCO were set to expire at the end of July after ZESA Holdings indicated it was failing to pay the required US$6.3 million.

Last month, Zimbabwe signed a five-year contract to import 100 megawatts of power a day from Zambia and the deal could not be consummated as Zambia was demanding payment upfront.

Giving an update to the media on the current power situation Friday, Zhemu said the deals had been paid for, and parties were expected to meet their sides of the bargain.

“With regards to the power import deal which was struck between our power utility and ZESCO of Zambia; this is a new deal, and it was supposed to fall off if ZESA had not paid by the end of July,” Zhemu said.

“So ZESA managed to pay, and this is a prepaid facility where ZESA has been able to pay the US$6.4million that was required, and we started receiving electricity from Zambia by the 1st of August and we think this will continue going forward.

“All other facilities are still on, we have a facility with EDM of Mozambique, HCB as well as ESCOM are still on and we will continue to get electricity.”

Zimbabwe’s power supply has deteriorated over the last few weeks, worsened by depressed generation at Hwange and Harare thermal power stations. There was also loss of a generation unit at Kariba Power Station.

Meanwhile, South Africa was recently seeking to replace Zimbabwe as an importer of electricity from Mozambique and Zambia to ease its rolling blackouts.