Power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) is asking all its industrial customers to pay in advance in foreign currency – for power imported from South Africa and Mozambique – because its Kariba plant isn’t working.
Zesa has been experiencing severe cash shortages and was only getting about $1.5m (R21m) of the $5m it requires for its weekly energy bills.
Zimbabwe has a maximum electricity generating capacity of about 1100MW against peak demand of more than 1 400MW.
Eskom supplies 300MW to Zimbabwe at a cost of nearly $10.5m a month, while Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB) exports $2.6m worth of electricity to the country.
Eskom is owed $18m in outstanding bills while HCB is owed about $9m. Media reports from Harare say power production from the Kariba power plant has fallen as the drought has left the reservoir levels at their lowest in decades, while the country has been short of foreign currency for months, leading to the non-payment of salaries to government workers and limits on withdrawals from cash machines.
The ports quote a letter by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries urging its members to support the initiative.
“Zimbabwe is importing a significant amount of its power from South Africa and Mozambique, mainly due to depressed generation from Kariba.
“There have been challenges in foreign currency payments to support these power imports and ensure continued supply of power,” the letter said.
Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira did not respond to requests made yesterday for comment.