Although the board of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) was fired last week for incompetence, the country still wants to engage with South African power utility Eskom in an effort to boost electricity imports. Zesa is the holding company of electricity distributor ZETDC and electricity generator ZPC.
In mid-May Zimbabwe started implementing load-shedding because of a combination of low water levels at its Kariba Dam’s hydroelectric power plant, generation constraints at the old power station and limited foreign imports. Zimbabwe’s Energy Minister Fortune Chasi told Parliament that Kariba production could be stopped within 14 weeks because of failing water levels.
Zimbabwe seeks to boost imports from South Africa which have been cut down due to non-payment. However, before that can be done, a payment plan for the estimated $33 million owed to Eskom needs to be worked out.
Chasi emphasized that the board changes at Zesa will not halt plans to engage with Eskom, “We still have an executive, there is a team that will go ahead and engage Eskom.”
The energy minister added that he was supposed to go to South Africa, but the meeting was delayed after South Africa’s ministerial changes in government. In May, President Cyril Ramaphosa made an announcement that Energy and Mineral Resources Ministries would be merged, putting Gwede Mantashe in control.
Chasi said the team had been given instructions to negotiate a payment plan. Zimbabwe hopes Eskom will boost exports to the country by up to 400MW per day, once an agreement has been reached after negations.