6. June 2017

Zimbabwe averts power cuts after partial debt payment to South Africa

Zimbabwe has paid US$10 million dollars out of the US$43 million dollars it owes South Africa’s power utility, averting potentially crippling power outages in the country, Energy Minister Samuel Undenge said Monday.
The minister said  Zimbabwe would not be plunged into darkness as the government was in the process of mobilizing more funds to settle the debt.
Zimbabwe’s power utility ZESA Holdings owes South Africa’s Eskom US$43 million dollars in power imports, and is struggling to pay off the debt due to foreign currency shortages in the country.
ESKOM recently threatened to cut off supplies to Zimbabwe if the debt was not paid by May 31.
Eskom supplies 300 megawatts (MW) of electricity to Zimbabwe daily to help the country offset a power deficit due to low generation capacity.
“We are trying our best to honor our debt and we have come to an arrangement with Eskom. So far, we have paid over the past one month 10 million dollars,” he said.
The minister urged consumers to pay their electricity bills to enable ZESA Holdings to honor its financial obligations.
“The revenue which ZESA is receiving is below the cost of its operations and there is that constraint,” he said.
Zimbabwe requires 1 400 MW of electricity per day but is only able to produce around 1 000 MW as generation capacity has been curbed by aged power plants (Financial Gazette, Harare)

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