The Cahora Bassa
hydroelectric power plant,
where technical problems
cut the power supply
to Maputo, and then
on to Swaziland
.  
Maputo, Mozambique — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 18 January 2012 – Contrary to initial statements, the Mozambican electricity company, EDM, has now admitted that it has interrupted the supply of power to Swaziland, but pointed out that this was the result of technical problems at Cahora Bassa.

On Monday, the Swazi press cited Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) corporate communications manager Sifiso Dhlamini as claiming that EDM had suspended power supplies for an indefinite period.

“They informed us that Mozambique’s domestic consumption had increased to very high levels, hence they needed to first satisfy their own demands. This therefore meant that their surplus production had to be used within the country,” Dhlamini said.

Initially, EDM spokesperson Celestino Sitoe said this was not true, and that supplies to Swaziland were continuing as normal.

Mozambique news agency AIM reports that he was wrong, however. In a later contact with AIM, Sitoe corrected himself, and said that power supplies to Swaziland had been temporarily interrupted due to maintenance work at the Cahora Bassa power station on the Zambezi.

The power that EDM sells to Swaziland is not generated by EDM, but by HCB, the company that operates the Cahora Bassa dam. EDM buys 400 megawatts (MW) from HCB and sells some of this on to Swaziland,

“Currently HCB is doing maintenance work on its fifth turbine, and as a result we have been receiving less electricity,” said Sitoe. The HCB power station has five turbines, each capable of generating 415MW.

“So right now, we have no surplus power to export to Swaziland or to Botswana,” he added. He did not know how long the HCB maintenance work would take, but guaranteed that the supply of power to Swaziland would be resumed as soon as the situation returned to normal.

Usually, EDM sells between 40 and 50MW to Swaziland, which is 21% of the country’s power requirements.