Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Zambia To Switch Off Zim Over Power Supply Debt

Zambia’s power utility ZESCO Limited is set to disconnect supply to Zimbabwe in the next 24 hours over non-payment of US$ 10.7 million debt for the month of February and March.

ZESCO has an arrangement with Zimbabwe through the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) to supply over 100MW per month on a prepayment basis.

However, Zimbabwe has struggled to settle its obligations owing to serious foreign currency shortages.

ZETDC Commercial service director Gift Ndhlovu told stakeholders at a virtual engagement meeting with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) this morning that ZESCO wrote a notice last Friday that they will disconnect supply this Tuesday over non-payment.

“Our ZESCO supply is under threat from non-payment. We might be switched off tomorrow because of shortages in foreign currency.

“On Friday we got a letter that tomorrow we will be switched off by regional suppliers,” said Ndhlovu.

Zimbabwe currently depends on regional power imports from ZESCO, South Africa’s ESKOM, Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) and Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) of Mozambique to compliment for its weaker local generation.

According to Ndhlovu, overall debt to regional power suppliers has surged to over US$ 100 million.

“Government is currently seized with the matter and we hope engagement currently taking place will come up with a favorable result to avoid being switched off,” said Ndlhovu.

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Zimbabwe’s power generation units have largely been affected by decades of non-maintenance and aged infrastructure which has seen thermal units in Bulawayo and Munyati dormant while Hwange and Kariba Hydro operate below capacity.

But with foreign currency shortages biting, ZETDC is set to adopt a 100 percent payment of electricity in USD to boost its import capacity.

“We have gotten the nod from our authorities for the 100 percent payment of electricity in USD which should enable us to bridge the foreign currency gap,” said Ndhlovu.

Zimbabwe’s energy requirements is about 1700 MW but on average, combining imports and local generation, the country is currently producing between 1000 and 1350 with load-shedding making up for the deficit of between 200 and 450 MW.

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