File Photo. Picture: Ian Landsberg

arare – Eskom has put Zimbabwe, which is battling for cash, on notice over a debt accrued for power supplies but officials in Harare say black-outs will be averted as some mining companies will pay cash upfront to cover for the money owed.

Eskom supplies power to some of its neighbours, among them Zimbabwe which gets about 300MW of electricity under a non-binding agreement.

Zimbabwe also gets some of its power from Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa to augment supplies from Kariba Hydro Power Station and Hwange Thermal Power Station. It has also emerged that electricity generation from the Mozambican power plant will be reduced.

Zimbabwean state media reported on Monday that Eskom has given notice to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority that it pays its debt or risk being disconnected by the end of this month. This would plunge Zimbabwe’s business and industry into black-outs and cripple production, some industry executives said.

“Zesa has not been able to adhere to this repayment plan. The balance as at end of March 2017 according to the plan should have been R484 721 980, but the actual balance was R603 176 479, leaving a shortfall of approximately R118 454 499,” Eskom said in a letter to Zesa chief executive officer, Josh Chifamba.

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However, according to government officials in Zimbabwe, the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe are working on a number of initiatives to raise the money and pay Eskom before the end of this month. This includes asking mining companies to pay in advance while the central bank will also mobilise funds to pay for the power imports.