Mozambique: Eskom's Debt Among Factors Delaying Import of More Power From Mozambique

Maputo — The South African Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, has claimed that the supposedly complicated nature of the transaction, a lack of urgency from the South African electricity company, Eskom, and Eskom's outstanding debt have contributed to the delay in importing a further 100 megawatts of power from Mozambique, a deal which was agreed back in June.

The five giant turbines at the Cahora Bassa dam in the western Mozambican province of Tete can, in theory, generate 2,075 megawatts. Most of this power is already sold to Eskom.

In the longer term, a new hydro-electric dam at Mphanda Nkuwa, on the Zambezi will be built, about 60 kilometres downstream from Cahora Bassa. It will generate 1,500 megawatts from 2030.

Earlier this month, the Mozambican government said it was frustrated that there had been no progress from Eskom in finalising the acquisition of the electricity pledged to help alleviate the rolling power cuts, known by the euphemism "load shedding'.

According to Ramokgopa, cited by "News 24', "adding 100 megawatts of electricity will increase SA's electricity resources by 0.2% and amounts to approximately 10% of one load shedding stage. It was nevertheless important for Eskom to access every megawatt it could.'

The legacy debt issues, the minister said, between Eskom and its Mozambican counterpart, EDM, had been one stumbling block, while another had been the complexity of the contracting, which needed to factor in commodity price and currency risk.

"We will do everything possible to chase after every megawatt because the aggregation will help us end load shedding', he said.

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