Zimbabwe needs $14 million for monthly electricity imports
Zimbabwe’s state-owned power utility, ZESA Holdings, needs $14 million for monthly electricity imports from the regional power market, its acting Chief Executive Patrick Chivaura said on Monday.
Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst power crisis in a decade, with households and industries being cut off for up to 16 hours daily.
The power crisis has added an extra burden on Zimbabwe’s wobbling economy, which is already characterised by shortages of foreign currency, fuel, food, medicines as well as a skyrocketing inflation.
Zimbabwe needs about 2,200 megawatts of electricity at peak consumption but generates just below 1,300 megawatts, while relying on imports to fill the gap.
Due to ageing equipment, power generation is often disrupted following breakdowns. In most cases, the generators operate below capacity. In recent months, Zimbabwe could only afford to import 25 megawatts from nearby countries after major electricity suppliers in the region turned off the switches over non-payment of dues.
“If we clear our debts to (South African power firm) Eskom and (Mozambique’s hydropower company) HCB it would wipe out our (power cut) problems today, I repeat, today,” Chivaura said.
Chivaura indicated that the company was seeking a government exemption to charge mining companies in U.S. dollars to guarantee power supplies.