ZWL$42bn debt worsen power woes

(Last Updated On: January 19, 2023)

MARTHA MAMOMBE

 

Power utility ZESA Holdings is owed over ZWL$42bn (US$58m) in unpaid arrears by consumers including business and government in a development hampering any prospects of easing the recurring power crisis that has hit the country.

Zimbabwe is faced with a severe power crisis worsened by reduced generation at Kariba following a directive by the Zambezi River Authority on low water levels.

The failure by the debtors to pay has also affected the power utility’s ability to import power to cover for generation shortfall.

Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company acting MD Ralph Katsande blamed the huge debt for power supply constraints and persistent outages saying the debt has crippled the power utility.

“We are owed ZWL$42bn by debtors who are not paying for power supply. This debt is hampering our efforts to serve our customers, end load shedding and improve service delivery,” Katsande said.

Last year, ZESA, said they were making efforts to address the power cuts that were persisting and threatening businesses.

The power utility said it was  working on bringing Hwange Power Plant Unit 7 and 8 back up after over two years of delays and circumstantial setbacks.

There were also plans laid out to introduce independent power producers to feed into the national grid through environmentally friendly sources such as solar and wind.

Power cuts still continue with officials from ZESA saying all is set for the switching on of Hwange 7 and 8 power stations soon.

Last year, economist Eddie Cross warned that the government has no significant plan to address the economic crisis.

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