Zim, DRC sign new 100mw power deal
Harare – SADC co-operation was at play this when Zimbabwe’s power utility signed a a deal to import 100 megawatts of electricity from the democratic Republic of Congo. The deal by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and DRC power firm SNEL, will go a long way towards easing power shortages in the country. “ZESA holdings are pleased to advise that it has managed to secure an additional 100 megawatts of power from SNEL of the Democratic Republic of the Congo effective March 1, 2011,” the power utility said in a statement.” Fifty megawatts of the power will be supplied on a firm basis, meaning that the power will be supplied on a continuous basis, and the other 50 megawatts will be supplied on a non-firm basis, meaning that power will be supplied as and when available.” ZESA has been battling to meet the country’s electricity needs, often resorting to cutting supplies to some areas for up to 10 or 12 hours in a desperate measure to conserve scarce electricity. The company has attributed the erratic power supplies to ageing equipment at major plants and low tariffs. The government has also not invested in new electricity generation and transmission equipment over the past three decades. The power utility also blames its woes on failure to collect $400 million it is owed by customers. Currently ZESA is generating 1,300 megawatts against a demand of 2,100 megawatts. Zimbabwe also has a power deal with Namibia under which Windhoek imports power from Harare after it bailed out Zimbabwe with a a cash injection at the height of the economic meltdown. The MDC ministers on the coalition government have repeatedly criticised the deal saying it favoured Namibia but those in the know say it was be the best Zimbabwe could get under the circumstances in 2007 when it faced critical foreign currency and power shortages caused by illegal sanctions in the country.