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Zimbabwe to import 100 megawatts from DR. Congo

HARARE, Feb 28, 2011 – Zimbabwe\’s struggling power utility said Monday it has secured 100 megawatts of electricity from the Democratic Republic of Congo to reduce a perennial shortage.

"ZESA holdings is pleased to advise that it has managed to secure an additional 100 megawatts of power from SNEL of the Democratic Republic of the Congo effective March 1, 2011," the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) said in a statement.

"Fifty megawatts of the power will be supplied on a firm basis, meaning that the power will be supplied on a continuous basis, and the other 50 megawatts will be supplied on a non-firm basis, meaning that power will be supplied as and when available."

ZESA has been battling to meet the country\’s electricity needs, often resorting to cutting supplies to some areas for up to 10 or 12 hours in a desperate measure to conserve scarce electricity.

ZESA has attributed the erratic power supplies to ageing equipment at major plants and low tariffs.

The government has also not invested in new electricity generation and transmission equipment over the past three decades.

The power utility also blames its woes on failure to collect $400 million it is owed by customers.

Currently ZESA is generating 1,300 megawatts against a demand of 2,100 megawatts.

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