Martin Kadzere Senior Business Reporter—
ZESA Holdings is seeking to ring fence part of export proceeds from local companies, including mines to pay for electricity imports in advance, sources have said.Local exporters retain between 50 percent — 100 percent of their export receipts and the power utility has been negotiating with the companies to pay upfront for power imports using part of their earnings.
In turn, Zesa would freeze the tariff rate charged on the exporter for an agreed period on condition that production levels will remain at agreed levels. Some exporters that Zesa is talking to include ferrochrome producers and platinum miners including Zimbabwe Platinum Mines.
“Zesa is negotiating with selected exporters,” said one source who requested not to be named citing confidentiality “and will soon be engaging other exporting companies.”
The deal will also guarantee uninterrupted power supplies to the exporters for an agreed period. ZESA spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira was not immediately available for a comment.
Zimbabwe is generating about 1 000 megawatts against peak demand of 1 400 MW.
The power utility is importing power from Mozambique and South Africa to argument local supplies.
The power utility is said to be spending about $5 million weekly, on power imports.
To boost local capacity, Zimbabwe is expanding Kariba South Power Station with two additional units.
The expansion is now 65 percent complete with the first unit expected to start electricity generation in the next 12 months.
The KSPS project, expected to add 300 MW onto the national grid when fully completed will cost an estimated $370 million.
Zimbabwe is also working on increasing capacity at Hwange Thermal Power Station, the country’s largest power plant in terms of capacity by two additional units.