Zesa fails to foot bill for power line

The struggling power utility Zesa is reported to be unable to pay for the construction of a $100,000, 10 megawatt power line connecting Chisumbanje ethanol plant and Chipinge suburbs.

Green Fuel is supposed to be sharing the cost of the power line with cash-strapped Zesa.
Green Fuel is supposed to be sharing the cost of the power line with cash-strapped Zesa.

Zesa partnered with Green Fuel last year, and the two organisations agreed to share the cost. “Zesa said they don’t have funds to build a line from the plant to the next off-take position and we will have to do it,” said Arda board chair Basil Nyabadza.

The state-owned Arda joined with private companies Macdom and Rating Investments to form Green Fuel.

Nyabadza’s confirmation comes after Green Fuel general manager Graeme Smith attributed the delay to the excessive rains experienced this season.

However, it became apparent that Zesa was still struggling to release the expected funds, thereby stalling the project.

The Chisumbanje power line had been projected to be complete by the second week in December last year. The target was set following a meeting attended by energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, Zesa eastern general manager Milton Munodawafa and Green Fuel owner Billy Rautenbach in Chisumbanje.

The parties agreed to meet the cost on a 50/50 basis after Rautenbach had questioned the logic behind Zesa’s request to have his company finance a power line, wholly owned by the latter.

Zesa’s public relations officer Fullard Gwasira requested questions in writing but failed to respond.

The future of the power line hangs in the balance as Zesa has been plunged into a financial fix after the government ordered the power utility to scrap electricity bills owed by ratepayers.

The hard-up power utility wrote off $170m in debt for domestic customers and resettled and rural farmers.

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