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Zimbabwe: Southern African Power Pool Warns Country

Jan 19, 2007 Makoshori, Shame, Zimbabwe Independent/All Africa Global Media

The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) has warned that electricity transmission bottlenecks in Zimbabwe's power infrastructure are affecting power transmission between utilities in the region.

SAPP is a group of 12 power companies in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) which was established to coordinate the planning and operations of electric power systems in the countries, which are facing the threat of electricity shortfalls this year.

In its 2006 annual report, SAPP said while major steps towards regional power integration were taken in the period, the group was worried about transmission congestion in Zimbabwe.

Power infrastructure in Zimbabwe had not been replaced for decades and desperate efforts are underway to refurbish major power stations.

"Transmission congestion has been noted on some points in the system especially the transmission bottlenecks within the Zesa (Holdings) system in Zimbabwe, which geographically lies at the centre of SAPP," the report said.

"This bottleneck is hindering the electricity trade between northern and southern countries," SAPP said.

Sapp's concerns came as other SADC economies had previously warned that the deteriorating economic situation in Zimbabwe could have negative consequences on regional economic performance if urgent steps were not taken to address the decline.

They warned that Zimbabwe, with four digit inflation figures, could become the stumbling block to the region's economic integration.

Power utilities making up Sapp include the Botswana Power Corporation, Eskom of South Africa, Nampower of Namibia, the Tanzania Electricity Supply Company, Zesa, the Lesotho Electricity Corporation, the Swaziland Electricity Board,the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi, Zambia's Zesco and others.

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