The local power utility allegedly owes regional suppliers more than US$100-million in accumulated debt.Yet despite facing electricity supply problems, Zimbabwe is exporting power to Namibia at below cost.
Zimbabwe generates about 1400MW of a required 2000MW, and imports about 300MW from Zambia and Mozambique.
However, Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma says Zesa exports about 150MW to Namibia.Mangoma said Zambia and Mozambique were “willing to export more power if we pay for the current imports and something towards the accumulated debt of nearly US $100-million.”
He said Zimbabwe expected to receive another 50MW-100MW from the Democratic Republic of Congo, starting this month.Power-sector sources said this week it was highly unlikely that Zimbabwe would continue to get power supply from the regional power utilities and beyond if it did not settle its debts.
“These regional power utilities have had enough of excuses.
Each time they chase for payments of outstanding debts, they are told things are being worked out. It is only a matter of time before they get fed-up and stop supplying us with power,” said a source.
Consumers and industrial players are hit by power cuts as the power utility struggles to provide electricity to all parts of the country.The government is not likely to provide funds to clear the debts soon.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has indicated the country faces challenges that will make the settlement of debts difficult.
The government is struggling to pay decent public service salaries. Promises of salary increases are unfulfilled.
There is a dogfight over whether the money from the sale of diamonds should go towards public service salaries or not, while other essential services await funding from the government.
Mangoma bemoaned Zesa’s US$40-million deal with NamPower to export about 150MW to Namibia. The tariff agreed is below Zimbabwe’s cost of generating the power.