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Eskom confirms Zim power cuts
05/02/2006 12:38 - (SA)


power Johannesburg - Eskom has confirmed that power was temporarily suspended to Zimbabwe due to planned maintenance power outages.

The power company's spokesperson, Fani Zulu said: "We had a lot of maintenance outages that were planned, it is normal at this time of the year.

"Because most of the plants are going through mid-life maintenance and refurbishments it took longer to bring the plants back into supply."

Meanwhile South Africa's department of minerals and energy has denied media reports that a decision was taken to stop fuel supplies to Zimbabwe.

Spokesperson Yvonne Mfolo said: "The department is not aware of such a decision. I have checked with my principal and no such decision was made."

The Sunday Independent reported that the department sent a circular to fuel companies telling them that with "immediate effect" they must cease supplying fuel to Zimbabwe, citing "refining problems".

Bankrupt

Most major fuel companies in Zimbabwe source their fuel from South Africa because the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe is bankrupt and has been unable to find sufficient foreign currency for fuel since March last year, the report read.

Eskom's Zulu said an interruptability clause with Zimbabwe allowed Eskom to cease supply of non-firm power over and above the predetermined firm power.

"The last time this happened was 10 days ago and since then the power company has been supplying all their needs in terms of their contract," he said.

He explained that there were two types of supply to international customers. A predetermined firm supply or non-firm power which depended on the contract with the particular country.

"Under serious threat"

News agency DPA reported a senior official in the Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Commission (ZERC) told the Sunday Mail that "forced outages" in the supply from South Africa, as well as inadequate supplies of coal to power Zimbabwe's main Hwange power station, had put supplies "under serious threat".

The problem had been worsened by the Zimbabwe electricity authority's inability to settle its debts with its major coal supplier and with the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) which transports the coal.

The agency reported almost 40% of Zimbabwe's electricity supply is imported from regional suppliers in South Africa, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

 
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