Zimbabwe has not been connecting electricity illegally "for years" at Eskom's expense, the power utility said on Thursday evening, dismissing the claims as fake news.
In a statement, Eskom said rumours that the southern African country - to which Eskom supplies some 400 MW of electricity - had been connecting illegally had been sparked by a parody article on satirical website Ihlaya News.
"Ihlaya" means "joke" in isiZulu.
"For the past 15 years, Eskom had R2bn worth of electricity disappeared annually unaccounted for [sic]. The Zimbabwean government had been powering almost half of their country from illegal connections and Eskom had been trying to figure out where the lost electricity is actually going without success until the past weekend," the article said.
Eskom dismissed it as "fake news".
"The article is published on Ihlaya News a parody and satire website, confirming that 'all articles are complete fiction'," Eskom said.
"Eskom has neither recorded shortfalls in its international power reconciliation nor investigated the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority. Energy consumption is accounted through a comprehensive reconcilation process and is independently audited on a regular basis," it added.
Eskom further said claims that electricity it supplied to Zimbabwe was not affected by load shedding were false. The supply was "also curtailed", the utility said.
Ihlaya News - which has a laughing emoji as the logo on each of its news stories - currently includes feature titles such as ,"Study finds that women love men who cheat on them more". Other protagonists of its stories include an alleged hacker of the US government, a male birth control subject, and a man who can repel mosquitoes by breaking wind. A recent feature also states that a study has found: "Smoking hubbly bubbly does not make you cool, you are still lame, boy."