Zimbabwe’s state-owned electricity distributor has given businesses, including mines and large-scale farms, six months to clear their bills or risk being cut off and face litigation, the company said on Monday.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDS) is owed more than US$1 billion by electricity users, including households, farmers, industries and mining companies.
ZETDC said in a public notice that businesses had six months to clear their bills because it required the money to pay for electricity imports to supplement local generation.
Zimbabwe, which has had stable electricity supplies for more than a year, currently produces 938 megawatts and imports up to 450 megawatts from South Africa and Mozambique.
Isaac Kwesu, the chief executive of the Chamber of Mines, said although some members had accrued huge bills over the years, they had made plans to clear the arrears with ZETDC.
“I know members will make all efforts to honor their dues because there is no one who can afford to have a mine closed,” Kwesu said, but declined to name members with arrears.
Zimbabwe this month expects to commission two new generating units at the country’s biggest hydro power plant, Kariba, which will add 300 megawatts of capacity.