Zim pays Eskom US$10m in bid to ease power shortage

Zimbabwe will this week pay US$10m to South Africa's power utility Eskom as part of plans to unlock at least 400MW to ease power shortages in the country.

The southern African country, which according to power utility Zesa was producing 1200MW as of Sunday, needs at least 1700MW per day to meet demand. Over the years it has relied on Eskom and Mozambique's HCB for additional power.

However a combined debt of US$83m to the two entities had meant limited supply of just 50MW from each.

We will be paying Eskom US$10m this coming week, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube told an informal media briefing Sunday.

He said this (payment to Eskom), as well as negotiations goverment had had with the Mozambican government last week, will ease load shedding which had gone up to stage 2, or 19 hours without power.

Meanwhile more and more Zimbabwean companies are turning to off grid power supplies with solar being the prefered alternative.

Crocodile breeder Padenga Holdings is close to self sufficiency and has put up solar plants producing 1MW.

Telecomms giant Econet Wireless in April commissioned a 466KW solar power plant at its Willowvale industrial complex in Harare, the largest commercial and industrial carport and roof mount installation of its kind to be deployed in the country.

Old Mutual is also working on plans to install solar panels on the rooftop all its buildings with several having gone through the process.

Platinum miner, Zimplats also said it is conducting feasibility studies to put up a solar plant that will cater for its energy needs.

A technical partner has already been engaged to conduct a feasibility study for a solar farm believed to be able to provide 160MW.

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