Message Lun 28 Sep 2015 10:23

CEC links electricity crisis to govt’s lack of faith in loca

THE Copperbelt Energy Corporation has linked the current electricity crisis in the country to the government’s lack of faith in local developers to undertake huge hydropower projects. Last week, the government and CEC signed an implementation agreement for the 40 megwatts Kabompo Hydropower expected to come on stream in 2019 at US$210 million. The agreement was a concession from the government to CEC to guarantee that all necessary requisites to the development of the project like land and water could be accessed. CEC executive chairman Hanson Sindowe said CEC’s attempt to develop the 750 megawatts Kafue Gorge Lower and massive potential on the Luapula River went ignored by the government. “CEC has made no secret of its deep desire to be fully involved in finding solutions to the country’s energy challenges. Even before the award of the Kabompo project, we had made an unsolicited bid to the government, in partnership with one of our customers, to develop the Kafue Gorge Lower hydroelectric project but our bid was not accepted,” he said. “That was in 2004 and to date, this project has not yet taken off. We will leave it to the imagination of what the outcome of accepting that bid may have been in the light of the power deficit being experienced today. Again, through unsolicited efforts, the government permitted CEC to undertake pre-feasibility studies of the hydro potential of the Luapula River. More than five years later and the company having spent over US$3.5 million on the initial phase of feasibility studies, we are still uncertain of what our involvement in the project, if any, would be.” Sindowe said CEC was currently expanding inter-country transmission capacity by investing US$18 million in erecting a second Zambia-DRC interconnector line to increase the carrying capacity to a firm 550 megawatts. “CEC has always desired to be considered a true partner in developing not only the energy industry but also the country’s economy,” said Sindowe. “The company has always looked inside to try and contribute to the sector but we have been less successful than we would have liked, not because of failure on our part but on account of not being given the opportunities that we see and are keen to exploit.” About two months ago, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo signed an intergovernmental memorandum of understanding on the utilisation of the shared waters of Luapula River for the development of the river’s hydropower potential. - See more at: ... mMf6X.dpuf