Energy

ZESA pays off Eskom debt, now in a position to negotiate new deal

PHILLIMON MHLANGA

ZESA Holdings has liquidated its debt to South Africa’s power utility Eskom, Energy Minister said.

ZESA has been struggling to pay for its power imports mainly from Eskom and Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB) of Mozambique due to crippling shortages of foreign currency.

This and low local production, resulted in Zimbabwe battling power outages with companies and households enduring long hours without electricity.

But, Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi, disclosed on his twitter handle that the debt owed to Eskom has been paid off.

Chasi said ZESA was now in a position to negotiate a new deal with Eskom, which could be a firm contract where electricity supplies to Zimbabwe will be guaranteed.

The previous deal for electricity supplies was on a non-firm contract basis where Zimbabwe could get up to 400 megawatts (MW) of electricity).  But, Zimbabwe ended up only getting less than 100MW because a non-firm contract stipulated that Eskom could only supply Zimbabwe if it had surplus.

Now, given that it has paid off the debt, ZESA can negotiate a firm contract, where supplies of electricity are guaranteed.

“Hard to believe but Eskom has, in fact now been paid off,” Chasi said.

He added: “Eskom was paid the last US$890,000.00 for imports during this week. This means ZESA can now negotiate for additional supplies if available.

Attention now turns to HCB (Mozambique).”

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