Power supplies from Mozambique to Zimbabwe were increased by 100 percent last week, resulting in a decline in load shedding. Hidrelectrica da Cahora Bassa (HCB) of Mozambique has increased imports to Zimbabwe to 300MW daily.

Zesa Holdings chief executive, Ben Rafemoyo confirmed that the Zimbabwe Power Company, a Zesa Holdings subsidiary, had also been able to run two generators at the Hwange power station as coal supplies had improved from Hwange Colliery Company Limited.

"We negotiated with them (HCB) and they understood our plight . . . we told them that we need adequate electricity supplies for the winter wheat programme and other critical sectors," Rafemoyo said.

"So, they really responded positively and decided to add 150MW from what we have been getting.

"We have also been getting constant coal supplies from Hwange and this enabled us to produce an average of 250MW at Hwange Thermal Power Station."

At the beginning of the winter season, HCB cut power exports to Zimbabwe due to a massive debt (of close to $20 million). Prior to this supply cut, Zimbabwe had been getting 450MW from Mozambique daily.

"We have very huge foreign obligations to HCB. We are yet to pay our bills for July and August and in total we have outstanding obligation of four months’ supply, which is around US$20 million. But they have maintained supplies to us," Rafemoyo continued.

Zimbabwe spends $12 million a month on power imports from South Africa, Zambia, the DRC and Mozambique, with 35% of total electricity requirements being met by imports.

Efforts were being made to increase coal supplies from Hwange colliery, but Rafemoyo remarked it was too early in the discussion stages to make any definite statements. The coal shortage has had a negative impact, not only on the generation capacity for Zimbabwe, but also in the manufacturing and mining sectors, with some companies having to cut production time by up to 50 percent.

The $40 million Hwange reconstruction of generator four has already commenced, with funding provided by NamPower of Namibia.

Once the generator is reconstructed, NamPower will receive a minimum of 150MW for a minimum period of 5 years. Power exports to Namibia would increase on a pro-rata basis as additional units were commissioned.