Harare – The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) appears to have confirmed that electricity imports from South Africa has started to flow in, a development which will significantly help ease the dilapidating power cuts Zimbabwe is currently experiencing.
The power company on twitter rubber-stamped a post by one twitter user claiming “Eskom power flows in” which confirms government’s earlier promise that it was close to striking an import deal with Eskom.
This week on Monday, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, George Guvamatenga at a mid-term budget review event held in the capital said the country’s electricity supply situation was set improve as from Wednesday going forward following the successful negotiations with Eskom.
Meanwhile government is also seeking to rope into Mozambique’s Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) to increase the amount of power imports.
Zimbabwe currently owes Eskom US$23 million for electricity imported and this was believed to have protracted an import deal between the two parties.
Through the deal, Zimbabwe will be getting up to 400 megawatts from Eskom, 50MW of which is guaranteed and the balance to be supplied only when capacity allows.
In addition, government has agreed to pay Eskom $890 000 weekly as a debt settlement plan for the millions owed to the South African power utility.
Last week the Minister of Finance Professor Mthuli Ncube in his 2019 mid-term budget presentation introduced a three-fold hike in power tariffs in a move aimed at improving ZESA’s operations.
At household level there is however, no confirmation as yet that supplies have improved and there is also no closure on the sustainability of the payment mechanism given the tight fiscus.
The deal is also likely linked to a structure where industry is expected to pull funds through an escrow for upfront payment to SPP. Failure to pull resources may collapse the reported inflow of power. The situation is also made worse by near term complete suspension of Kariba which is currently churning out 250 MW.
Industry was forced to adjust working hours and adopting night shifts only due to the power cuts internet access shutdown has become a feature as service providers struggle to deal with the huge operating cost incurred due to power blackouts.
Resultantly, the country has been losing a lot of productive hours, a key component towards GDP growth prospects.
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Raynold Mhotseka is a Journalism and Media Studies student at the University of Zimbabwe. He serves as a news writer at financial research firm, Equity Axis where he is currently on attachment. He can be contacted through the following email links, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.