ZESA in renewed bid to take over Byo City power station

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has renewed its bid to take over the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) owned 120 MW thermal Power station.

The BCC has been battling to regain control of the coal fired power utility arbitrarily expropriated by ZESA more than two decades ago after the amalgamation of all local authorities’ electricity undertakings.

In 2019, the electricity utility recommended demolition of the power station’s two iconic cooling towers, arguing they were now a danger to the residents due to their dilapidated state.

The move was, however, fiercely resisted by the residents who argued that the power station was sentimental. The facility is nicknamed the ‘smoke that bellows’ (Kontuthu Ziyathunga) because of the cooling towers.

ZESA has already drafted a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which BCC is yet to sign.

“That pending the conclusion of negotiations, and in any case, immediately after signing this MOU, BCC shall take all necessary steps, including providing written confirmation that it recognises the ownership of Bulawayo Power Station being fully vested in Zimbabwe Power Company (Private ) Limited,” reads the MOU in part.

The terms are that within 14 days from the signing, BCC shall submit a comprehensive compensation proposal to ZESA.

In addition, the MOU also stated that parties shall use reasonable efforts to conclude the compensation negotiations within six months of the agreement.

“Upon conclusion of the negotiations, and subject to all the relevant governance approvals having been obtained by both parties, a compensation, and settlement agreement shall be entered into to facilitate the payment /settlement of the compensation deemed to be due to BCC,”  the MOU further reads.