EDM admits power to Swaziland has been interrupted

Maputo – Contrary to initial statements, the Mozambican electricity company, EDM, has interrupted the supply of power to Swaziland, but this is for technical reasons.

The Swazi press on Monday cited Sifiso Dhlamini, Corporate Communications Manager of the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC), as claiming that EDM had suspended power supplies for an “indefinite” period.

"They informed us that Mozambique’s domestic consumption had increased to very high levels, hence they needed to first satisfy their own demands. This therefore meant that their surplus production had to be used within the country," Dhlamini said.

Initially, EDM spokesperson Celestino Sitoe said this was not true, and that supplies to Swaziland were continuing as normal.

He was wrong. In a later contact with AIM, on Monday night, Sitoe corrected himself, and said that power supplies to Swaziland have been temporarily interrupted due to maintenance work at the Cahora Bassa power station on the Zambezi.

The power that EDM sells to Swaziland is not generated by EDM, but by HCB, the company that operates the Cahora Bassa dam. EDM buys 400 megawatts from HCB and sells some of this on to Swaziland,

“Currently HCB is doing maintenance work on its fifth turbine, and as a result we have been receiving less electricity”, said Sitoe. (The HCB power station has five turbines, each capable of generating 415 megawatts).

“So right now, we have no surplus power to export to Swaziland or to Botswana”, he added. He did not know how long the HCB maintenance work would take, but guaranteed that the supply of power to Swaziland will be resumed as soon as the situation returns to normal.

Usually, EDM sells between 40 and 50 megawatts to Swaziland, which is 21 per cent of Swaziland’s power requirements.

Sitoe insisted that EDM has no problems in its commercial relationship with SEC. “This is just a technical and operational problem on the part of HCB”, he said.

EDM has cut exports rather than affect domestic consumers. Sitoe said that the HCB maintenance will not affect electricity supplies within Mozambique.

Post published in: Africa News

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