SA’s Eskom courts Zim for power


Staff Writer

SOUTH African power utility Eskom has expressed a desire to draw as much as 900 megawatts of power from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) should the latter ge

nerate excess capacity owing to investments it is currently undertaking, businessdigest learnt yesterday.


Zesa, which unveiled joint expansion works with the Chinese at Hwange and Kariba power stations late last year, has had offers from the Sunninghill energy company for the purchase of power in anticipation of a major shortfall in Pretoria in 2007.


Fani Zulu, the Eskom spokesman, yesterday said it was normal business for them to tap excess power and electricity from regional utilities.


The intended buy, he said, was done within the norms and protocol of the Southern African Power Pool (Sapp), an electricity-trading organ of the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc).


“It is within normal practice for us (as Eskom) to inquire from fellow Sapp members about excess power and possibly buy from them,” Zulu told this paper.


His remarks follow a letter from Eskom Energy Trading manager Willem Theron, which stated the Johannesburg company’s intention to purchase power from Zesa in the coming few years.


The letter, a copy of which was seen by this writer, was addressed to Zesa authorities last year and it has since ignited excitement in government circles that at least its investments would have takers or ready users.


Sydney Gata, Zesa’s executive chairman, yesterday tried to downplay the issue, saying the arrangement was still undeveloped. He said committing to 900 MW potentially distorted facts because the figure fluctuated “depending on potential users’ needs”.

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