Message Ven 10 Oct 2014 13:36

CEC to develop 800MW power station in Luapula

COPPERBELT Energy Corporation will develop an 800 megawatt hydro-power station at the Luapula River to help the country increase its power generation capacity.

Meanwhile, CEC says Konkola Copper Mines has paid US$50 million out of the US$60 million it owed the power company in electricity bills.

Speaking during the media tour of CEC yesterday, managing director Owen Silavwe said the power company had engaged the government so that it could give consent to proceed with the development of the hydro-scheme.

He said so far, the company had spent over $2 million on the initial feasibility studies.

“This is a project that will be highly beneficial to Zambia, we have been doing feasibility studies and once consent is given by the state, we are ready to spend more resources. There are certain feasibility studies that we can only do once we are given a go ahead by the government,” Silavwe said. “Associated to this project is the development of transmission infrastructure because we need to be able to take that power to the market where it’s required after generation.”

He said the Luapula River was a great resource that could help increase the country’s power generation capacity and CEC had engaged the government to that effect.

Silavwe said the project could be developed under various models and one of them could be the Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

“We are open to partnering because this is a big project. In total, to develop 800 megawatts station you need $3 billion. No one company in Zambia today can claim to have $3 billion but by forming partnerships, you could actually make these resources available and develop. We are happy to lead this process of forming partnerships with other public or private sector players,” Silavwe said.

He said any power generation project would benefit Zambia, and
on the Luapula hydro-scheme project, priority would be given to Luapula Province which was richly endowed with water resources.

Silavwe said industries, commercial and residential customers would significantly benefit from the project because 800 megawatts was a lot of power and Luapula needed about 100 to 150 megawatts.

Meanwhile, Silavwe said Konkola Copper Mines has so far paid $50 million out of the $60 million it owed in electricity bills.

“We have had a challenging period with KCM in terms of our relationship as it relates to the payment of bills to an extent where we were compelled to restrict a minimum level of power supply to KCM. We are beyond that phase now, KCM is CEC’s biggest customer and both companies have learnt lessons from what happened over the last six months. The big chunk of that money went to Zesco. We had to pay Zesco as well,” said Silavwe.