The Zimbabwean government says it has reached an agreement with South Africa’s state-owned power utility Eskom for the weekly supply of 400MW of electricity, starting this week.
According to Minister of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa, an arrangement to unlock the supply of 400MW with Eskom has been concluded and will result in an improved supply of electricity in the southern African country.
In terms of this agreement, Zimbabwe has commenced payment of US$890 000 (R13.3m at current rates per week towards the settlement of its debts to Eskom, Mutsvangwa said on Tuesday in a post-Cabinet briefing.
Similar discussions will soon commence with HCB of Mozambique, she said.
In a text message to Fin24, Eskom confirmed agreement had been reached on a payment plan for the outstanding debt and that proof of payment had been received.
It added that Eskom and Zimbabwean power utility Zesa are in the “late stages” of a deal. It added that the electricity supply would be conditional, depending on whether SA was experiencing load shedding.
“Eskom and ZESA are at the late stages of concluding an agreement. Once approval is obtained and payment guarantees lodged, we will supply ZESA as contracted,” Eskom said.
“We will revert to a 50MW firm contract and up to 350MW on a non-firm basis, meaning that when we have load-shedding in the country, any non-firm exports are reduced to zero and firm exports are reduced proportionally in accordance to the load-shedding stage.”
Zimbabwe started implementing rotational load shedding in May, due to a combination of low water levels at Kariba Dam’s hydroelectric power plant, generation constraints at ageing power stations and limited foreign imports.
It has been struggling to pay for power imports as it faces a crippling power deficit of roughly 950MW. In early July it made a $10m payment to Eskom, part of a larger $33m debt.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government has approved the implementation of a National Renewable Energy Policy that seeks to promote investment in the renewable energy sector in the country.
“This policy, if implemented, will go a long way in resolving current energy problems affecting the country,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.