SOUTH Africa’s Eskom and Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB) have given Zimbabwe up to December to clear its arrears.
Zimbabwe imports almost 30 percent of its national power requirements from the Southern African Power Pool members that include HCB and Eskom.
ZESA Holdings, the country’s power utility, owes two of these regional outfits a combined US$27 million.Eskom is owed US$18 million, while the US$9 million balance is owed to HCB.
Having struggled to clear the arrears over the years, patience among the regional power utilities is wearing thin.
If South Africa and Mozambique decide to unplug Zimbabwe, the country would be gripped by a power crisis that could further dampen prospects for early economic recovery.Following negotiations, HCB now wants the arrears to be cleared by the end of next month, while Eskom would want to go into the New Year without being bothered by the debt.
Julian Chinembiri, the managing director of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a unit of ZESA, said while power suppliers have stabilised, arrears were mounting.
“They (Eskom and HCB) have understood our economic challenges and have given us a grace period to clear our arrears,” he told the Financial Gazette“Eskom gave us up to December 2016 while HCB gave us up to the end of November to clear the arrears.
“At the moment we are enjoying stable power supply and we would want to keep supplies as they are and ensure that load shedding does not occur