Mozambique Cuts Off Power to Zimbabwe Over "Unpaid
Jan 8, 2008 - BBC Monitoring
Mozambique's Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB)
power utility has suspended supplies to Zimbabwe over
unpaid debt, adding more woes to a country in deep
recession and grappling with shortages of hard cash,
food and every essential commodity.
Sources at state-owned Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority Holdings (ZESA Holdings) told ZimOnline
that HCB switched off supplies to Zimbabwe at the
beginning of this month after ZESA Holdings failed
to clear an outstanding US$26 million debt that was
due last December.
Mozambique's Cahora Bassa Dam (ZimOnline 8 Jan 2008)
"They (HCB) have not been supplying us with power
since the 1st of January. They were expecting us to
have settled the outstanding debt by December," said
a senior ZESA Holdings official, who did not want
to be named because he did not have permission from
the power utility to speak to journalists.
ZESA Holdings' chief executive officer Ben Rafemoyo
confirmed the termination of supplies but insisted
his company was in negotiations with the Mozambican
energy firm to resume supplies to Zimbabwe.
"We are trying to catch up with the ballooning debt.
They (HCB) are insisting that we clear what we owe
them," Rafemoyo told ZimOnline.
HCB's decision to cut supplies to Zimbabwe is sure
to worsen electricity shortages in a country that
consumes about 2,200 megawatts per month but can only
generate about 1,500 megawatts.
The huge power deficit has previously been filled
up with imports from South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique
and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
However, South Africa's Eskom power firm has stopped
exporting power to Zimbabwe as it battles to meet
rising domestic demand, while Zambia and the DRC suspended
supplies to ZESA Holdings over unpaid debt.
The hard cash-strapped ZESA Holdings' only response
to a burgeoning energy crisis has been to implement
a punishing power rationing regime to save on the
little electricity available while ensuring key sectors
of the economy are supplied.
Under the rationing schedule, supplies to domestic
consumers can be cut for up to 20 hours a day while
power is supplied to industry and other productive
However, the worsening energy crisis is only an
addition on a long list of hardships bedevelling Zimbabwe
in the grip of an economic meltdown critics blame
on repression and wrong policies by President Robert
Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence
from Britain and seeking another five-year term in
elections in March, denies ruining Zimbabwe and instead
blames his country's problems on sabotage by Western
governments he says are out to topple him.
Originally published by Zim Online, Johannesburg,
in English 8 Jan 08.
(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Africa. Provided by ProQuest
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