The power supply in Zimbabwe is expected to improve significantly as the government has started to make weekly payments to service its legacy debt with regional power utilities, the Herald reported Tuesday.
Secretary for Finance and Economic Development George Guvamatanga told a post-budget breakfast meeting in Harare Monday that arrangements that had been put in place should guarantee increased power supply beginning this week.
“In terms of the debt, I think the first installment was made last week (and) we are going to be making weekly installments for the legacy debts and we have also agreed that we pay on current basis for the supply of new imports,” Guvamatanga said.
He said the government had also made arrangements with the private sector to “ring-fence adequate resources” to pay for at least 400 megawatts of electricity per month.
“We certainly expect the power situation, having concluded with one of the suppliers, to improve starting (Tuesday this week) or from Wednesday. We are going to be engaging other suppliers as well to try and see if we can put into place a similar structure,” he said.
Zimbabwe owes South Africa’s Eskom and Mozambique’s Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) about 74 million U.S. dollars, resulting in the two power utilities reducing power exports to the country.
Electricity generation at Kariba Hydro Power Station is now down to 180 MW, which is not enough to power the capital Harare alone.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) business development manager Bernard Chizengeya on Monday expressed fears that Lake Kariba could be decommissioned next month as water levels were fast dwindling.
He said the country may be plunged into darkness by September or beginning of October unless solutions such as sustained imports to complement local generation are implemented.
He said Kariba Dam level is at 478m and power production will cease when it gets to 475m, which is likely to occur in September or October.