, HARARE, Mar 15 – Mozambique has cut off electricity supply to Zimbabwe over unpaid debts totalling $75 million, causing rolling power outages, Zimbabwe’s energy minister said on Thursday.
“Hydro Cabora Bassa switched off supplies to Zimbabwe on Thursday or Friday last week over the money owed which is around $75 million or $76 million,” Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma told AFP.
“We are now switching off defaulters as part of efforts to raise the money,” he said.
Since Mozambique’s Hydro cut off Zimbabwe, several suburbs of the capital Harare have gone for days without electricity, while other places suffer up to 10 hours of power cuts, as the utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) comes under pressure to save power.
Zimbabwe needs 2,200 megawatts of electricity at peak but generates just 1,300 megawatts and imports the remainder, including 100 to 185 megawatts from Hydro Cahora Bassa.
Last month, Mangoma warned a parliamentary committee that Zimbabwe risked being cut off if it failed to settle its debt with Hydro.
He said ZESA had accumulated almost a billion dollars in unpaid electricity imports, unserviced loans and outstanding contributions to a joint power project with neighbouring Zambia.
The firm also plans to introduce pre-paid meters to improve its revenue collection.
Last year ZESA announced it would hand out more than 5.5 million power-saving fluorescent light bulbs to households across the country to curb consumption.