South Africa’s power utility Eskom says it has not signed any power importation deal with Zesco Limited because bilateral discussions are still ongoing.

Last month, Energy Minister Mathews Nkhuwa announced that Zesco will soon be importing 300 megawatts of electricity from Eskom at a cost of US$ 20.5 million per month.

Subsequently, Zesco management confirmed the Minister’s pronouncement during a press briefing in Lusaka on September 24, explaining that the 300MW emergency power import deal signed with Eskom was scheduled to take effect from October1, 2019, for a fixed six-month period, costing an estimated US $20.5 million per month or grand total of around US $123 million.

But on September 30, acting Zesco Managing Director Webster Musonda told the Parliamentary committee on Energy, Water Development and Tourism, that some proposals that have been made to the Energy Regulation Board will need to be finished before imports could commence.

But in an interview with News Diggers! Monday, Eskom deputy spokesperson Dikatso Mothae disclosed that Eskom had not yet signed any power import deal with the Zambian government or with Zesco, and that the South African utility would only deliver the much-needed electricity into Zambia once all conditions were met.

“We are still in discussions with Zambia. Once all conditions precedent are met, we will deliver what we have contractually. These discussions are between Eskom and its customer. And a lot of information that you asked, I actually cannot disclose. But what I can say is that discussions are underway. We haven’t signed anything yet. So, there is no deal yet. We are still negotiating,” said Mothae.

“The ball is currently on the Zambian side. So, I can’t say when we expect to have have concluded the deal. What we can just say is that the discussions are ongoing.”