, HARARE, Jan 13 – Zimbabwe\\\\\\\’s power utility has been ordered to stop electricity exports to Namibia until it can meet its own country\\\\\\\’s needs, a state daily reported on Wednesday.
The Herald newspaper reported that Energy Minister Elias Mudzuri said the power utility could not continue exporting electricity to Namibia under a deal signed in 2007 while importing to cover a perennial power deficit.
"We can\\\\\\\’t have a situation where we import to export," Mudzuri told the newspaper.
"In the past, we have never stopped supplying them (Namibia) with electricity even when Hwange (power station) was down. This meant we were importing and then re-exporting and I am saying that is not proper," he said.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing erratic supplies with some areas facing blackouts lasting up to 15 hours as the country battles to keep its thermal power generators at Hwange running.
In 2007, Zimbabwe and Namibia entered into an agreement under which Namibia gave Zimbabwe a 40-million-dollar loan for repairs to its thermal power stations while Zimbabwe would pay back by exporting electricity to Namibia.
Last week Zimbabwe\\\\\\\’s power utility signed an eight-million-dollar deal with Botswana to revive a shut-down thermal power station in the second city of Bulawayo and ease national blackouts.
Under the deal, the Botswana Power Company will provide funds to the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to refurbish and buy coal from the country\\\\\\\’s main colliery.
Zimbabwe will export power to Gaborone in return, it added.
Bulawayo and other small thermal power stations in the country were shut down in June 2008 due to Zimbabwe\\\\\\\’s financial crisis.