Ministry of Energy permanent secretary Brigadier General Emelda Chola says neighbouring Mozambique has indicated that it cannot manage to supply excess electricity to Zambia at the moment.
The Club of Mozambique, an online publication, ran a story on May 24, 2019 indicating that Zambia and Zimbabwe were set to receive 500MW from Mozambique in exchange for further reduced power generation by the two countries at their Kariba Dam hydro plants.
“The deal could be spurred by Mozambique’s need to reduce water inflows into Cahora Bassa Hydro-Electric Dam, which is the country’s largest, most efficient and main source of hydroelectric power supply. The dam is overflowing due to Cyclone Idai-induced rainfall, and further inflows from the Zambezi River which is being swelled by the release of water for power generation at Kariba will make the situation dire in Mozambique,” read the publication.
“As a result, officials from Zimbabwe and Zambia’ power utilities, ZESA and ZESCO respectively, will accompany Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) officials to Mozambique to negotiate a deal. ZRA manages the affairs of Lake Kariba and Zambezi River on behalf of Zimbabwe and Zambia.”
The story went on to quote ZRA chief executive Munyaradzi Munodawafa who said:
“So if we agree on that, then there will be a little bit of some mitigation. They can give maybe 500 megawatts, which can be shared between the two utilities, that is why we want to go and do, we have already in principle agreed with the two utilities, we talked to ZPC and ZESCO and they said go ahead.”
However, Brig Gen Chola said Mozambique’s commitment was first to fulfill the power utility’s off-takers before looking at possibilities of channeling excess power to needy countries like Zambia.
“I am saying they could have been that idea or arrangement, which was not sent…Mozambique has indicated that they are not able to provide that 500 mega watts because they are committed to fulfill their obligations with their off-takers, whether it is countries, companies, I am not sure but it is their off-takers,” Brig Gen Chola explained.
She further said her Ministry was still discussing modalities on the importation of power in the country.
“So the solutions we are still discussing as a Ministry and together with Zesco, on how we are going to do it. As a Ministry, we provide policy guidance even if the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is managing because IDC is the shareholder for Zesco; they consult the Ministry on certain issues,” Brig Gen Chola said.
She further could not give a specific date when the country will start the importation of power despite Minister of Energy Mathews Nkhuwa stating that the country will start importing power from South Africa.
“I have to get the details from Zesco, I am not aware when they will start. But I am also aware that they have making consultations with other countries like Eskom on the possibilities of getting power. I think the Minister had actually issued some statements over the same,” said Brig Gen Chola.