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Zesa owes foreign power companies US$83 mln


(New Ziana) –Power utility, Zesa Holdings owes
regional power companies, Eskom of South Africa and HCB of Mozambique
US$83 million which has blocked the country’s access to additional
power imports as it battles shortages that have resulted in the
introduction of load shedding, a cabinet minister said on Tuesday.
At the same time domestic consumers, including government, businesses
and households owe the power supplier around RTGS$1.2 billion (about
US$200 million) in unpaid bills, impacting on its ability to deliver
Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi told journalists
that the country could unlock additional power supplies by settling a
significant part of its foreign debt.
 “We are currently getting 50MW from Eskom, if we pay, we could unlock
something in the region of 400MW,” he said.
Power shortages have worsened this year in the wake of a drought that
resulted in the decline in water levels in the Zambezi River, the main
source of water for the country’s main hydro-power station, Kariba.
The authority tasked with managing the river, the Zambezi River
Authority says current water levels are at 29 percent, resulting in
the rationing of water supplies to the power station.
As a result, Zesa Holdings has introduced daily load shedding for a
minimum of 10 hours during peak periods for households.
Industry has also not escaped the power rationing.
Chasi said the country’s power deficit averaged around 450MW.
While urging the public to settle power bills to enhance service
delivery, Chasi said it was imperative that the country seriously
looked at improving the environment for investment in alternative
energy sources.
Besides Kariba, the country’s second major power production station is
Hwange, which uses coal.

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