Zimbabwe's Federation of Timber Industries has started importing electricity from the Southern African power grid to meet its power needs amid intractable problems at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority or ZESA.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries President Joseph Kanyekanye said timber firms are receiving 40 megawatts of electricity through the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company, a ZESA unit.
Kanyekanye said other heavy industries including mining firms have engaged ZESA to set up similar deal under which companies pay the foreign power supplier directly for the electricity passed through the system.
He told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that this facility will ensure constant power supplies as ZESA struggles to meet domestic demand. “Timber producers pay upfront for the electricity they need and we believe that will help augment times when there is insufficient power,” he said.
ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira said a number of industries are looking abroad for power.
But Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma said the government has not yet authorized private companies to import electricity directly to meet their requirements.
ZESA is currently producing 1,100 megawatts compared with a national requirement of 2,000 megawatts. It is also importing electricity from Mozambique and Zambia to meet general requirements.