Regional inter-state power sales up 31pc

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Harare -The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) says electricity sales revenue for member states surged 31 percent up from June figures as demand rose in line with reopening of economies.

Economic activity has been depressed as countries battle with the global COVID-19 pandemic, but output has been higher in the last two months as governments ease lockdown restrictions.

Statistics release by the SAPP show that a total of US$9,1 million was exchanged on the competitive market in July 2020, compared to US$7,3 million the previous month.

However, the figure was far below the $20 million traded in July in 2019, highlighting the economic impact of COVID-19.

TSAPP co-ordination centre executive director, Engineer Stephen Dihwa told The Southern Times Businessthat the increase in revenue was mainly attributed to changes in traded volumes and changes in prices.

“Electricity demand is seasonal and for our region it is highest in winter and thus July has higher demand than June. Utilities that are in deficit will therefore require importing more electricity to meet the increased demand hence increased traded volumes in July.

“The increased demand leads to more expensive generation being run to supply power and hence the increase in prices of traded electricity,” he said.

Eng Dihwa said eight utilities participated in electricity trade on the SAPP competitive market in July. These were the Botswana Power Corporation, Copperbelt Energy Corporation of Zambia, Electricidade de Mozambique, Eskom of South Africa, the Eswatini Electricity Company, Lesotho Electric Corporation, Namibia Power Corporation (NamPower) and Societe National d’Electricite of DRC.

“Please note this excludes those that traded based on their bilateral agreements,” Eng Dihwa said.

The region is grappling with power shortages and most countries are actively pursuing new large generation projects to alleviate the situation in the medium to long-term.

SAPP was created in August 1995 when SADC Heads of State and Government (excluding Mauritius) signed an inter-governmental MoU for formation of an electricity power pool that would boost co-operation in energy and related infrastructure, among other considerations.

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