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Alba Iulia
Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Genesis of CEC

Economy The Genesis of CEC

The four major copper mines on the Copperbelt-Roan Antelope, Rhokana, Mufulira and Nchanga had individual coal fired power stations using coal from Wankie. Later, the four mines decided to have their individual coal fired power stations interconnected with an installed capacity of 165 MW through transmission lines and the Rhodesia Congo Border Power Company was born, which was owned equally by Anglo American Corporation and by Rhodesia (it became Roan after independence) Selection Trust.

Between 1956 and the early 1960s the shortfall in electricity demand was imported from the Belgian Congo through the construction of the then longest 220 kV transmission line in Southern Africa, a distance of 321 miles from the source at the Le Marinel Power Station, on the Lualaba River, the Southern part of the Congo to Kitwe, Northern Rhodesia, where it was connected to the Rhodesia Congo Border Power Company line. The USA Government loaned $22.4 million to the Rhodesia Congo Border Power Corporation for the construction of the line. The Queen Mother commissioned the Kariba Dam in 1960 and her visit was extended to Mufulira where she also commissioned the Mufulira West Shaft which was constructed with labour from Swaziland or Lesotho and the workers used to wear blankets and were, therefore, known as “bakabulangeti”.

I remember as an eleven year-old in 1960 lining the road leading to Mufulira West waving a miniature union jack to welcome the Queen Mother and at the end we were given ice creams, my first taste of ice cream. The Rhodesia Congo Border Power Company abandoned its thermal power plants and stopped importing power from the Belgian Congo after the Queen Mother commissioned the Kariba Hydropower project and started buying power from CAPCO, Central African Power Corporation.

In 1964, it became known as the Copperbelt Power Company (CPC) and with the ‘Zambianization’ drive of the 1980s, CPC became part of the mining conglomerate, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM), as the Power Division in 1982. The Copperbelt Energy Company (CEC), was the Power Division of ZCCM. It was sold separately from the mines, ZCCM, which were also privatized.

Cinergy Global Power of the United States of America and National Grid of the United Kingdom, jointly acquired a controlling stake of 77% in the Company; making it Sub-Saharan Africa’s first electric utility privatization. Subsequently, in 2006, the two investors sold of their shares.

The company purchases electricity from ZESCO and retails it to copper mining companies. In 2003, revision of the Electricity Act, Cap 433 allowed the participation of private companies, which have subsequently begun selling electricity to ZESCO, generated by their own small power stations.

Since the government of the day, MMD to be specific, did not sell ZESCO , it would have been logical to align the Power Division of ZCCM to ZESCO but apparently the people responsible for privatization, perhaps HH, decided to sell it separately. Because HH was responsible for privatization and hence the birth of CEC this is why some people suspect CEC to be funding UPND and that is why the PF has told ZESCO not to renew the bulk supply agreement.

CEC owns and operates an electricity transmission network in the Copperbelt area with 246 km of 220kV power lines and 678 km of 66kV lines. The company purchases electricity from ZESCO, the national power utility, and sells this across its transmission network to 8 Zambian mining customers with a combined demand of 520MW. In 2014 CEC supplied 4,208GWh of electricity to its customers which was 29% of Zambia’s total generation of 14,453GWh. CEC also operates 6 gas turbine generators at Luano, Maclaren, Kankoyo and Bancroft for emergency power supply to its mine customers with a total installed capacity of 80MW. It is not clear to me whether ZESCO has its own transmission lines to the mines. CEC also owns the Zambian portion of the Zambia – DRC 220kV interconnector line which has a capacity of 250MW and supplies electricity to mining customers in the Katanga Province. The company is developing the 40MW Kabompo Gorge hydropower project on the Kabompo river in the North-Western Province of Zambia.

Author Ronald Lwamba Former Senior Manager, Civil Engineering, ZESCO

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29 COMMENTS

  1. if someone who has been in the four corners of a class and an engineer for that matter doesnt know who was responsible for privatization in zambia ,this should make you worried for the future of your children in this country. Mr ronald lwamba has never heard about zambia privatization agency?

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  2. Thanks for this brief history about CEC although it has not told us about the gist of the impasse,available solution options,their pros and cona to help us imagine the option available to end the unproductive standoff.Could you please rectify your error: HH was NOT in-charge of Privatization but GRZ through Zambia Privatization Agency (ZPA) was!!

  3. No Zambian can go to China and control their resources but look at them getting rich from Zambian resources while the Zambians are suffering

  4. The author doest even know the meaning of the word GENESIS, if is article is all about the genesis of CEC, whats the last part of the article for, he should have brought it up in his next article a different subject about CEC.

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  5. It is a mouth full. Our country is “poor” because of poor structural links within our systems and also because we do not have qualified and/or competent Zambians who are patriotic enough to organize and defend national assets. Consequently we are caught up in a web of mediocrity of highest order.

  6. Eng. Ronald Lwamba at 71 you vividly remember the day you tasted ice cream (1960), but your memory about the more recent privatization process seems Muddled

  7. Good article until he gets reckless and drags UPND and HH into it. It suddenly lost all taste. Mr Engineer, go to PACRA and obtain the list of owners. Next, give us plausible evidence to believe that CEC is funding UPND. This is why people are beginning to say UNZA teaching did not do a good job kwena mwe. It would be nice if you are a graduate from another university apart from UNZA for a change. Mwalasebanya amasukulu mu calo ba tata.

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  8. @UBZ allowed 10 Standing

    Eng. Ronald Lwamba at 71 you vividly remember the day you tasted ice cream (1960), but your memory about the more recent privatization process seems Muddled.

    KIKIKIKIKIKIKIKI, ACTUALLY ITS WHEN HE FIRST TASTED ICE CREAM AFTER LINING UP AND WAVING THE UNION JACK FOR HIS QUEEN.

  9. Who ever crafted our education system may be the cause of all this happenings in Zambia. Our country is full of Schooled /educated morons.

  10. The only thing I got was the First time he tasted Ice Cream … Kikikiki poor retired Engineer … Kikikiki
    HH must be a very powerful man if it’s true he overpowered the MMD government of Chiluba and it’s ZPA agency to sell the mines and CEC. It means he had better business IQ than GRZ … Kikikiki.
    Since our Senior Engineer’s memory is so powerful as to remember the first taste of Ice Cream, he can elaborate and give more light on the role of HH as the in-charge for privatization with documentary evidence to put this narrative to rest.

  11. This man calls himself an engineer but can’t recall the govt agency which was responsible for privatisation of the parastals, the Zambia Privatisation Agency (ZPA) when even me who was in Secondary school then can. It’s mind boggling.

  12. Upnd can seek funding from whomever they want, including their GAY LORDS. However., it won’t change the fact that all predictions we have undertaken are showing a resounding win by ECL. This will be the easiest election ever for me.

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  13. I think the point is, when ZCCM Power Division wasn’t given to ZESCO, CEC was born. Therefore, it is only prudent that they should have layed out a solid future plan of competing with ZESCO by weaning themselves off the addictive cheap power and setting up their generation plant like Maamba. For me, they have themselves to blame, this day was coming. Maamba are comfortable because the know ZESCO needs them, sadly ZESCO can do without CEC!!

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  14. HH is a good buddy of then ZPA CEO Valentine Chitalu from their days at UNZA, Just saying……………

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  15. Clear? Yes, as mud.

    The only thing that’s clear is that corruption in Zambia is not by politicans only. Add, ZCCM (the mother of all Mines theft), and HH whose struggling to clear his role in privatisation of our Mines.

    We the people have been Shafted, but not in a good way either.

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  16. It is not clear to me whether ZESCO has its own transmission lines to the mines. Ask me the ZPA consultant

  17. ZPA was not responsible for privatisation of the Mines.. FTJ constituted a separate, special committee for ZCCM chaired/led by Mr. Francis Kaunda

  18. We know that the privatization criminals teamed up in de-touching CEC from ZCCM. Their aim was to enrich themselves by free riding on the back of ZESCO as a producer of electricity. This is what selfishness can do. Zambia has a lot of people who just look at their bellies. Sad situation as it will take ages for Zambia to develop with such selfish people.

  19. I think the ice cream got into his head so that is what he remembers clearly. The rest is a blur.

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  20. The styopet engineer forgot to mention that the Kafue Consortium headed by Mazoka wanted CPC as part of their offer for Nchanga and Nkana mines but that could’ve disadvantaged other players. Zesco had a chance to buy shares from the others but they had a conflict of interest. LPM made his relative Sisala as Zesco MD when he also had shares in CEC.

  21. An educated man remembers ice cream but not important details. Food for the belly. Marsh for the brain.

  22. Then President Frederick Chiluba constituted a so called Special Team for the Privatization of ZCCM in 1995. He appointed his two fellow Luapulans Francis Kaunda and late Luke Mwananshiku as Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively. The three units of ZCCM to be privatized in 1997 were Roan Division which was sold, as Luanshya copper mines, to Binani of India. The second was Chibuluma mine which was acquired by Metorex a division of China’s Jinchuan The same year CEC was bought by Cinergy global power from USA and UK’s National Grid.

    The following year in 1998 Nkana and Mufulira Divisions including the Smelter were sold as a package to Glencore, the Swiss commodities trader which was then furiously transforming itself into a primary producer with investments in green fields and…

  23. Zambia has declared distribution and transmission lines of CEC as “common carrier”, a move the company described as expropriation. CEC said the order from Zambian Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa, titled Statutory Instrument No. 57 of 2020 (SI 57) was given shortly before the end of the company’s power supply agreement (PSA) with Konkola Copper Mines (KCM). Because of this move, CEC is “on the brink of defaulting” on its loans, with the government’s move having taken away its commercial and property rights, it said. This took effect at midnight on May 31. The company said this followed failed negotiations on the renewal of a bulk supply agreement (BSA) with state-owned power company Zesco.

  24. This man remembers the first day he tested ice cream. Am sure someone from PF took him some to come here and brag no sense. Because he has forgotten everything but he remembers what went to the stomach. U are just ruining your reputation old man.

  25. This strategy of PF of targeting poor people with food so that they can market PF after feeding is really childish politics

  26. Zambia has declared distribution and transmission lines of CEC as “common carrier”, a move the company described as expropriation.
    CEC said the order from Zambian Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa, titled Statutory Instrument No. 57 of 2020 (SI 57) was given shortly before the end of the company’s power supply agreement (PSA) with Konkola Copper Mines (KCM). Because of this move, CEC is “on the brink of defaulting” on its loans, with the government’s move having taken away its commercial and property rights, it said. This took effect at midnight on May 31. The company said this followed failed negotiations on the renewal of a bulk supply agreement (BSA) with state-owned power company Zesco.

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