On Monday, South African state-owned power utility, Eskom noted that notice has been given to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) to honour its increasing debt by the end of this month or it would be forced to cut its electricity supply.
According to Engineering News, Zimbabwe owes Eskom R603 million [$44 million], of which R119 million [$8.6 million] is outstanding arrears. The amount has increased from R443 million [$32 million] that ZESA owed Eskom for power supply as at December 2016.
Eskom supplies about 300MW of electricity per day to Zimbabwe under a nonbinding agreement.
“Eskom can confirm it had concluded a repayment plan with ZESA and have subsequently given ZESA an extension to end May 2017 to ensure compliance and have indicated that no further lenience will be given,” Eskom said in response to queries from the African News Agency (ANA).
“The quoted balance is incorrect, with ZESA owing Eskom considerably less than the stated R1.08 billion [$73 million], and Eskom has sufficient guarantees in place to secure the debt.”
ZESA payment plan
In March, Zimbabwe’s energy minister said that it is currently negotiating a new deal to continue importing power from South Africa, as its hydropower dam is not meeting the country’s energy needs.
At the time, Samuel Undenge said that customers should pay their bills to ZESA, to enable the company to settle its Eskom debt, which amounted to $40 million at the end of February.
ZESA is owed $1 billion in unpaid bills by customers, including government departments. Read more…
Engineering News reported that the Zim utility made a payment plan with Eskom earlier this year, however due to a shoratge of foreign reserves it had defaulted.
The Herald, a state owned newspaper in Zimbabwe, reported that ZESA chief engineer, Josh Chifamba, acknowledged the local power utility was having financial difficulties, but said things were under control.
“We are getting support from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabweand some of our customers who are into exports, particularly ferro-chrome ones,” Chifamba was quoted as saying.
“We are confident that the issue will be resolved in good time to avoid disruption to power supply. It’s under control.”