Govt working on power imports for industry

GOVERNMENT is negotiating with South Africa and Mozambique for electricity imports dedicated to power industry, currently reeling from the ongoing load-shedding lasting up to 18 hours a day.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA/MISHMA CHAKANYUKA

“Cabinet has already made a resolution on that, where industry and mining have come together to let us ring-fence supplies which we can immediately import from the region; which is what we are working on.

“They came and offered, so we are working together with them to ensure that with immediate effect, once all the final modalities are put in place, that relief comes and I am sure part of that relief has already come through,” Energy and Power Development permanent secretary Gloria Magombo told NewsDay on the sidelines of a meeting hosted by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) to discuss the power crisis.

“Miners (for example) will put money into an escrow account, which will then be used to import the additional (power) capacity, which will then be ring-fenced. But, as government, we believe in a holistic solution.

“This is just a solution for now, but we are working on a bigger and holistic solution which will allow — for example – if they ring fence, maybe let’s say 400 megawatts, it means Zesa now has additional capacity also to supply others outside those who are ring-fenced, which is good because it will then provide relief for those who have their continuous supply, but at the same time it releases part of that power to other sectors.

“But we want to work with a process where the restoration of value to Zesa, through an adjustment which will then allow everyone to then have the power. So the discussions are partially with Eskom. We are also talking to HCB, but these negotiations are at a very delicate stage. We can’t tell you exactly the total figures which are involved, because we are still negotiating.”

ZNCC Harare branch chairperson Mike Mamungeremu told the same meeting that firms were spending between US30c and 38 US38c per kilowatt/hour to run generators.

He said businesses now preferred an increase in tariffs as, in the long term, it would be cheaper.

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