Zimbabwe has been guaranteed of continued power supply from South Africa’s power utility, Eskom, despite a power trading deal coming to an end, Energy Minister Samuel Undenge has said.
Zimbabwe has been importing 300 megawatts from its neighbour since December 2015 to help reduce rolling power cuts that decimated its industry and mines, but that deal is ending ‘soon.’ The two parties are negotiating to extend the arrangement, Undenge told journalists after a meeting with Eskom officials in Harare on Monday, adding that South Africa had “assured continued support.”
“The utilities are working out the details. It is a commercial arrangement, we are going to pay for what we import. There are various modalities of payment that are being discussed and as Zimbabwe we are going to honor our obligations….we will pay up what we owe,” he said.
Last year state media reported that Zimbabwe’s power utility Zesa, had run up a $12 million debt forcing government to step in with a guarantee to pay after Eskom had threatened to cut supply.
South Africa’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Mphakama Mbete who was also present at the meeting on Monday told journalists that the negotiations were progressing well. ‘We are hoping out of this there will be stronger consolidated bilateral energy collaborations which will strengthen our economies on a long term basis.”
As of March 2, Zimbabwe’s power output including imports was at 1,350MW against demand of 1,400MW.