Zim still exporting power to Namibia

zesaHARARE - Zimbabwe is still supplying power to Namibia despite announcements to the contrary by Energy Minister Elias Mudzuri earlier this week, the Zimbabwean embassy in Windhoek and Namibian power utility NamPower have said.

In a statement on Friday, the embassy said the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) had not cut power supplies to Namibia. “ZESA is committed to upholding the contract and the country will not renege on its power obligations to Namibia,” the embassy said. NamPower also announced that it is still receiving power from ZESA under the terms of a 2007 deal in which the Namibian power utility provided a US$40 million loan to refurbish ZESA’s 400MW Hwange Power Station. In return ZESA was supposed to supply 150MW of power to Namibia for five years.

NamPower spokesman John Kaimu said the company was still awaiting formal communication from ZESA over its reported decision to stop power supplies to the country. “NamPower and ZESA agreed on the modalities in which the loan would be advanced and managed and the eventual export of power to Namibia once the first unit at Hwange has been refurbished.” He said ZESA had the capacity to meet its end of the deal after NamPower committed funds towards the refurbishment of Hwange Power Station. ZESA has, however, managed to maintain power exports to Namibia through imports from regional utilities where it currently sources 35 per cent of its power, prompting Mudzuri to order ZESA to stop exports to Namibia since the Hwange Power Station was not working properly.

“We can’t import power to export to Namibia when Hwange Power Station is not producing,” Mudzuri said on Monday. “That deal was for Hwange only and it must not affect the entire operations of the country. It can only be implemented if Hwange is properly running. I have ordered ZESA not to supply electricity to Namibia until Hwange is running.” The Zimbabwean energy firm said cash-rich foreign investors remained reluctant to provide funding badly needed to boost power generation because of uncertainty about the country’s future political and economic direction.

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