Zimbabwe has secured a five-year deal to import 100 megawatts of electricity a day from Zambia after paying US$6, 4 million upfront to Zesco, Zambia’s power utility, Energy and Power Development minister, Zhemu Soda has said.
Responding to questions from journalists at a Press conference on Friday, Soda said Zimbabwe had also retained deals with Mozambique and South Africa.
The deals were facing termination as the southern African nation struggled to meet payment obligations to the two neighbours.
“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,” Soda said.
“So Zesa managed to pay and this is a prepaid facility where Zesa has been able to pay the US$6,4 million 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 Eskom are still on and we will continue to get electricity,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s power supply has deteriorated over the last few weeks, worsened by depressed generation at Hwange and Harare thermal power stations.
At the end of last year, Zesa said its combined generation capacity sat at 2 200MW.
The firm has been generating a fraction of this, triggering prolonged blackouts.
But industries, already demanding up to 2 000MW, are said to have lodged a fresh application for an additional 2 100MW.
Without capacity to deliver the power immediately, panicky Zesa officials looked at various options to keep Zimbabwe running.
Zesa said two options would save the country — swift interventions to hike tariffs for exporters to viable levels — and agreement by major mines and smelters to join a new regional power importation scheme.