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ZESA to cut power to mines over RTGS $1.2 billion in unpaid bills

Defaulters should settle their electricity bills without any further delay to avoid the inconvenience associated with power being disconnected: ZETDC

State-owned power utility ZESA said on Thursday it will disconnect mines, farms and other users as it looks to recover RTGS$1.2 billion (U$77 million) in unpaid bills.

Zesa is grappling with grappling with drought which has seen water levels in the Zambezi River plummet, and ageing equipment which has outlived its usefulness.

This has seen vast parts of Zimbabwe experiencing daily power cuts lasting up to 18 hours after a severe drought reduced water levels at the country’s biggest hydro plant.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a subsidiary of ZESA, is also being hampered by ageing coal-fired electricity generators at Hwange which constantly break down.

ZETDC said in a public notice it was owed 1.2-billion Zimbabwe dollars and it was targeting to recover the money from mining, agriculture, commercial and domestic users.

Defaulters should “settle their electricity bills without any further delay to avoid the inconvenience associated with power being disconnected,” ZETDC said as it steps up its revenue collection efforts.

The Chamber of Mines, which represents big platinum and gold producers and other miners said its members were paying for power supplies in dollars to guarantee supply. They will not be affected by the disconnections, chamber CEO Isaac Kwesu said.

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On Thursday, Zimbabwe was generating 688 MW of electricity, less than half its peak demand, official figures showed.

The country imports up to 400 MW from South Africa and Mozambique when they have spare capacity.

Earlier this month, Zimbabwe hiked its average electricity tariff by 320% to increase power supplies, angering consumers already grappling with soaring inflation and the country’s worst economic crisis in a decade.

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Mining Weekly
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