Eskom’s hunt for more power puts Zimbabwe import deals at risk

Eskom is now ‘putting pressure’ on the Mozambique and Zambian utilities to take over the contracts, Gata said.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Eskom, the South African state-owned power utility, is looking to replace Zimbabwe as an importer of electricity from Mozambique and Zambia to help ease rolling blackouts.

Zimbabwe’s contracts with Mozambique’s Electricidade de Mocambique and Zambia’s Zesco are set to expire at the end of the month, according to Sydney Gata, the chairman of the country’s Zesa Holdings Ltd. Zimbabwe is failing to pay the $6.3 million monthly import bill to Zambia, he said.

Eskom is now “putting pressure” on the Mozambique and Zambian utilities to take over the contracts, Gata said.

“Zesa now has up to July 31 to draw the supply or else the contracts will be cancelled and the supply re-allocated to other utilities,” he said in a letter to miners. “Zimbabwe will stand to lose heavily as these contracts are long term and at a competitive price.”

Eskom, which supplies almost all of South Africa’s power from coal-fired plants, has subjected the country to intermittent outages for more than a decade because it can’t meet demand. President Cyril Ramaphosa said this week the company will turn to its neighbours to purchase surplus power, one of a number of measures designed to ease the crisis.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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