HUGE POWER PROJECT ON THE CARDS – GVT
By Allan Mbotshwa
The government has revealed that a huge power line project was on the cards, which could ease power distribution challenges in the country.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting the minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting services Monica Mutsvangwa said power distribution company, the Zimbabwe Electricity and Transmission Company (ZETDC), and an iron and steel entity the Dinson Iron and Steel company (DISCO) had agreed to join hands and construct a high voltage hundred kilometre power line.
“The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Honourable Professor Mthuli Ncube, presented the Proposed Partnership between Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Private) Limited and the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) for the Construction of a 330 kiloVolt (kV), 100 kilometre (km) Electricity Line from Sherwood (Kwekwe) to Manhize, Chivhu, which was approved by Cabinet.
“Cabinet would like to highlight that Dinson Iron and Steel Company
(DISCO) (Pvt) (Ltd) is setting up a Greenfield Integrated iron and steel plant, alongside mining of iron in the Chivhu District of Mashonaland East Province and Chirumanzu District of the Midlands Province.
“The US$750 million investment will significantly contribute to the country’s economic growth. DISCO has accordingly applied to be connected to the national electricity grid in order to access the requisite power for its plant operations. The electricity transmission line will stretch from the Kwekwe-Sherwood Substation to DISCO’s iron and steel manufacturing plant at Manhize in Chivhu,” said Mutsvangwa.
She said the power and steel giant would do the initial financing of the project.
“To finance this connection, ZETDC will enter into a Public Private
Partnership (PPP) agreement, whereby DISCO will pre-finance both phases of the construction project, as a loan to the utility company.
The loan will be recovered from ZETDC through deductions from DISCO’s monthly bills until the loan is paid up, over an estimated 5-year period. Cabinet invites the public to note that this electricity line will not only be dedicated to DISCO, but will also be available to other ZETDC customers along the way.
“In terms of the PPP, the utility will use 40% of the electricity. During Phase I of the project, DISCO will require only a fraction of its 60% allocation, leaving the rest available to ZETDC. The partnership will, therefore, allow DISCO to access a reliable and regular supply of power from ZETDC for their iron mining and processing operations on time. Local communities will also benefit by receiving consistent power supplies.
The affable minister said the project would have add-on effects on the economy in general.
“Other benefits of the power-line project include that ZETDC will have an asset on its balance sheet immediately after commissioning, that direct employment of about 300 skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled jobs will be created during the construction phase of the project, with at least 80% of the general labourforce coming from the local communities, the country’s power transmission capability will be augmented and reinforced and the construction of the power-line will capacitate Zimbabwe to substantially contribute to the regional Southern African Power Pool
(SAPP),” she said.