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Eskom: Zim electricity supply deal good for SA economy

Zimbabwe has been struggling to meet its energy demands as a drought has crippled its biggest source of electricity, the Kariba Dam.

FILE: Eskom flags at Megawatt Park in Johannesburg. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Eskom says a renewed contract to provide electricity to Zimbabwe will bring much-needed income against the backdrop of a stagnant economy.

Zimbabwe has been struggling to meet its energy demands as a drought has crippled its biggest source of electricity, the Kariba Dam.

Eskom’s Khulu Phasiwe says the company does have excess reserves to assist.

“The South African economy is stagnant in general. One way to raise our revenue is to increase our international sales as we’re doing now.”

TALKS

In January last year, Eskom agreed a one-year deal to sell up to 300 megawatts of capacity to Zimbabwe, which was facing biting shortages of electricity caused by low water levels in the Kariba Dam. Generation capacity fell to a low of 275MW from 750MW, causing widespread blackouts.

Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Samuel Undenge told reporters after a meeting between Eskom and state power utility Zesa Holdings that the two utilities were still discussing how much Eskom would supply to Zimbabwe, adding that imports would be paid for upfront.

"I don't want load shedding (scheduled power cuts) to return and we have been assured of continued support from Eskom so that we continue to have the country supplied with power," he said.

Officials from Eskom and Zesa did not comment.

Undenge said customers should pay their bills to Zesa, to enable the company to settle its Eskom debt, which stood at $40 million at the end of February.

Zesa is owed $1 billion in unpaid bills by customers, including government departments.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)