IDBZ raises US$60m for Zesa’s meters

THE Industrial Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) is raising US$60 million to partner the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) in the ongoing implementation of the prepaid metering project, IDBZ acting director Alex Machimbirike said.

Report by Staff Writer

 
He said US$30 million would be raised through IDBZ infrastructure bonds and syndication arrangements.

 
Under the scheme, Zesa plans to install 600 000 prepaid meters countrywide as part of the first stage to effectively phase out its conventional shambolic post payment billing system which resulted in it accumulating more than US$600 million in unpaid bills.

 
Zesa last week began rolling out pre-paid meter system in Harare and the project is expected to spread to other parts of the country next year.

 
Zimbabwe continues to battle with power deficits and currently generates 1000 MW against a demand of 2200 MW, hence the resultant erratic power supply hampering local industry.

 
Machimbirike said his bank has so far disbursed US$58 million towards the refurbishment of Hwange, Kariba, Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo power stations in order to up power generation.
What exacerbates power deficits in Zimbabwe are lack of maintenance of ageing equipment and lack of investment in the sector.

 
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera), however, last week announced that it had licensed electricity generation projects worth US$10,1 billion, a development likely  to address  the  power  deficit  in the country.

 
Zera said the licensed projects would have capacity to bring in 5 400 MW onto the national grid.

 
The projects would use mini-hydro, biogas, wood waste, coal-fired and solar technologies.

 
The energy regulator said it licensed a 250 MW solar project worth US$750 million, which is currently at the development phase.

 
Four investors had been licensed to develop coal-fired electricity in projects worth US$9,3 billion.

 
The projects include RioZim’s Sengwa, Essar and China Africa.

 
Border Timbers has also injected US$1,6 million for a woodwaste project which will bring in 500KW for the group’s own use.

 
The three biogas projects to generate 96MW are in Triangle, Hippo Valley and Chisumbanje.

 
Plans are still on the cards to expand capacity at Batoka to 800MW by 2020 and Kariba South to 300MW by 2016.

 
Zera is assisting the development of the Renewable Energy Policy framework and drafting the Feed-in-Tariff framework for renewable energy technologies.

 
The energy regulator is also working on the Energy Efficiency Policy framework to advise both producers and consumers to ensure optimisation of energy resources.