Load shedding is expected to ease in 2020 compared to the previous year after the government secured a US$100-million facility from Afreximbank.
The loan facility will enable ZESA Holdings to clear its arrears to Mozambique and South Africa and revive a 30-year trilateral agreement with the two neighbouring countries.
This was revealed by ZESA Holdings executive board chairperson, Sydney Gata. He said:
Frankly speaking, we should not have had the severe load shedding that we experienced last year. Zesa and the past ministry failed to renew a primary agreement that was due for renewal in 2012.
This trilateral agreement provides Zimbabwe first right of refusal to import 500MW of firm power at a very competitive tariff from Cahora Bassa.
This agreement was a result of the Mozambique government assisting us to access what was South Africa’s share of Cahora Bassa, at a time when SA also had a surplus.
So with considerable support from Mozambique’s government, SA surrendered 500MW of its entitlement to Zimbabwe for which we were to build the Bindura-Cahora Bassa lines, also called the Bindura-Songo lines, which would reach to Dema substation.
Two units at Hwange, which have been down for a number of years, are expected to be up-and-running by March, adding 300MW to the grid.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing debilitating power cuts for about 9 months due to failure to pay regional suppliers, ageing equipment at thermal power plants, and dwindling water levels at Lake Kariba which negatively impacted power generation at Kariba Hydro Power Plant.