Nearly all of the power generated by Cahora Bassa is sold to the South African State electricity company, ESKOM. ESKOM sells some of this power to the Mozambique government to power an aluminium smelting plant. Only a relatively small amount of the power is distributed within southern Mozambique.
There is very little electricity transmission infrastructure in Mozambique and a recent study showed that only 1% of rural households in the country have access to electricity. This level has hardly changed in 25 years and despite Cahora Bassa, most Mozambicans still have no access to electricity.
Dams along its length have reduced the mighty Zambezi River to a fraction of its flow where it meets the Indian Ocean. People and wildlife have been seriously affected, and the impact on Mozambique's lucrative shrimp fishing industry has been catastrophic.
The 16 million dollar industry has been reduced to less than half and is in danger of being wiped out altogether. Meanwhile, there are proposals for a new dam, Mepanda Uncua, downstream from Cahora Bassa, even though Cahora Bassa does not operate at full capacity.