Zimbabwe stops electricity exports to Namibia

2010-01-13 14:05

Zimbabwe’s power utility has been ordered to stop electricity

exports to Namibia until it can meet its own country’s needs, a state daily

reported on Wednesday.

The Herald newspaper reported that Energy Minister Elias Mudzuri

said the power utility could not continue exporting electricity to Namibia under

a deal signed in 2007 while importing to cover a perennial power deficit.

“We can’t have a situation where we import to export,” Mudzuri told

the newspaper.

“In the past, we have never stopped supplying them (Namibia) with

electricity even when Hwange (power station) was down. This meant we were

importing and then re-exporting and I am saying that is not proper,” he

said.

Zimbabwe has been experiencing erratic supplies with some areas

facing blackouts lasting up to 15 hours as the country battles to keep its

thermal power generators at Hwange running.

In 2007, Zimbabwe and Namibia entered into an agreement under which

Namibia gave Zimbabwe a $40 million (about R295 million) loan for repairs to its

thermal power stations while Zimbabwe would pay back by exporting electricity to

Namibia.

Last week, Zimbabwe’s power utility signed an $8 million deal with

Botswana to revive a shut-down thermal power station in the second city of

Bulawayo and ease national blackouts.

Under the deal, the Botswana Power Company will provide funds to

the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to refurbish and buy coal from the country’s

main colliery.

Zimbabwe will export power to Gaborone in return, it added.

Bulawayo and other small thermal power stations in the country were

shut down in June 2008 due to Zimbabwe’s financial crisis.


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