The domestic power utility, ZESA Holdings which owes South Africa power utility Eskom $33 million is set to negotiate for a payment plan during a meeting set for next week with expectations of a favourable outcome which will see increased imports from the neighboring country as Zimbabwe seeks to avert the power challenges.

The $33 million Eskom debt has in the past few months resulted in reduction of power imports levels for ZESA Holdings from neighboring South Africa from a possible 400 megawatt to the current 50 megawatt.

With additional power imports being viewed as the immediate solution to averting a power crisis and reduction in load shedding, ZESA Holdings will dispatch a team to South Africa next week to negotiate for a payment plan and additional imports.

Acting ZESA Holdings Chief Executive Officer Engineer Patrick Chivaura said the entity has come up with a payment plan which is supported by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and expressed confidence next week’s meeting will yield a positive outcome.

“Next week we will be engaging Eskom to discuss a payment plan which we hope will guarantee more power imports from the power utility,” Mr Chivaura said.

ZESA Holdings which also owes HCB of Mozambique $35 million requires at least $20 million per month to import 600 megawatts of electricity per month.

Addressing delegates attending the 2019 Zimbabwe Mining Conference, Energy and Power Development Minister Advocate Fortune Chasi said he will be engaging the mining sector to come up with a framework which will enable predictable power supply.

“We will be engaging the mining industry to come up with structure to ensure predictable supply of electricity,” said Minister Chasi.

The cabinet minister assured the mining stakeholders that the mining sector will continue to be prioritised in terms of electricity supply.

Zimbabwe’s power generation capacity was reduced owing to the decline in water levels at Kariba dam which has resulted in a slump in internal output.

ZESA Holdings is currently implementing a load shedding programme in the face of reduction in power.