Massive load-shedding looms

HARARE - Zimbabwe is set to be plunged into total darkness due to the worsening liquidity crisis in the country that has seen the national power utility failing to import adequate electricity.

Zesa chief executive, Josh Chifamba, yesterday told Parliament that the power utility owed suppliers — including South Africa’s Eskom and Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB) — over $800 million and was failing to service the debt due to lack of foreign exchange.

“As it is, we stand now, with some serious arrears accumulating on both accounts that is Eskom and HCB. We are not getting enough funds allocated by the central bank to service those accounts.

“I think we are getting $1,5 million per week where we require $5 million per week so there is a serious challenge, serious risk and should that happen then we will go to massive, massive load-shedding,” he said.

“We have had to come up with some innovative strategies where we are talking to our customers in the export business so that they cede to us part of what they retain from their export proceeds to help alleviate this problem, but this will be additional to what we are allocated by the central bank,” Chifamba added.

Zimbabwe, which produces about 1 200 Megawatts (MW) of its 2 400 MW demand, imports power from regional suppliers and also exports to Namibia.

However, the country’s debt to suppliers has been ballooning on the back of defaults by clients as well as inadequate allocation of funds from the central bank as the cash situation in the country has worsened over the past few months.

To this end, the RBZ has been allocating money to companies on a need basis through a priority list.

Chifamba also pointed out that due to the liquidity problems, the power company had, in some desperate instances, resorted to getting power from the contentious emergency Dema diesel power plant which ideally pumps 100 MW.

“… and I must say there were instances when we were curtailed and we had to go above 100 MW from Dema zvaipa (things were bad) you see, so I just want that to be put on record.

“Should that happen, we will need from 400 to 500 MW from Dema, should that happen and that will be serious for the country,” he said.

Chifamba also said Zesa owed Dema $8 million with $7,5 million being advanced to the firm’s administrator, Sakunda, every month.

Comments (2)

It really boggles the mind that at a time when we are short of this critical commodity ZESA goes on to award multi-mullion dollar contracts to crooks like Chivhayo who simply pocket the money and produce ZERO results. What kind of people are these? ZACC, where are you when you are needed? Mbavha dziri pachena idzi!!

Jonso - 25 November 2016

haa Mr Josh Chifamba,why are you in such arrears when we paying so much money on power we use for less units.if you getting money from treasury adding it to what consumers are using,wouldnt it be enough.noo thgats so bad!

tsviriyo - 26 November 2016

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