Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has revealed that the intense load-shedding currently crippling the country is set to improve in the coming two weeks owing to a breakthrough in negotiations with South Africa’s Eskom.
Addressing the media at a Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) workshop today, (ZETDC) Commercial Services Manager Corporate Engineer, Richard Marowa said the company is hopeful that towards the end of the month things should start to look upward.
“The load-shedding we are having now depends on the actual performance of Hwange being the best load power station. When it has a shortfall that goes below 520 megawatts that means we have to load-shed more. In essence, that means longer load-shedding hours.
“It is the main reason we were not meeting the eight hours and stretching the load shedding into the excess that is fifteen hours. The situation is likely to improve, we are getting this sense from the minister who has been negotiating on our behalf with his counterparts in South Africa. We are hopeful that towards the end of the month things should start to look upward.
“There is now legality in us accessing United States Dollars which is the critical currency that is required in order for us to pay for imports. Our imports are denominated in US dollars and with that, we will be able to import power for the nation,” he said.
The power utility has been crippled by various challenges such as failure to settle its debts for power imported from Eskom in South Africa and Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa in Mozambique.
This has resulted in Eskom cutting power supplies to Zimbabwe from 450 megawatts to just 50 megawatts which have contributed to the intensified power outages countrywide. Zesa has proposed that the mining sector pay its tariffs in forex to assist them to pay its foreign obligations.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s gold export earnings decreased by 32,9 percent to US$500 million in the first half of this year compared to about US$670 million recorded in the same period last year.
Fidelity Printers Refiners mining investment fund advisor, William Gambiza, said they had recorded a decline in deliveries of gold because of a number of challenges faced by small scale miners among them power outages and lack of fuel.