Eskom dispels rumours of free power for Zimbabwe

Staff Writer

ESKOM has firmly dismissed the claim that Zimbabwe may have been receiving its electricity for free from South Africa’s electricity utility.



Helvetica, sans-serif”>Speaking on Classic Business, Eskom financial director Willem Kok said although Zimbabwe was still “slightly behind” on its rescheduled debt payments, the country has fully paid up for its electricity consumption for 2003.


Kok said its debt was about R106m, but “in terms of the ongoing sales, we are quite comfortable in terms of doing business there”.


He said Eskom sold electricity to Zimbabwe on a 45-day credit basis. The country spent about R140m on electricity with Eskom last year, amounting to roughly 800 gigawatt hours.


Kok said Zimbabwe’s electricity usage only amounted to about 8% of all the electricity that it exported to the Southern Africa Development Community region.


The country had been firmly overtaken in terms of usage by Mozambique’s Mozal smelters. Meanwhile, although Kok said it could never provide guarantees, Eskom said it planned very carefully to make sure South Africa never runs out of electricity.


“We have been running an integrated strategic electricity planning process – an ISEP process – where we continuously look at the growth patterns in the economy,” Kok said.


“We derive from that the possible electricity demand and then make sure that we will be able to supply the electricity at the right time. And we will have to take some firm decisions in the middle of this year in terms of new base-load stations.”


Eskom said it would bring back three previously mothballed plants on stream by next year – at a total cost of R12 billion, compared to the cost of about R35 billion for a brand new plant.


This should see the country through to around 2011 when a new plant would have to come on stream, Kok said.

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