A Network in power
CEC like to play a role in observing and shaping the present and future business environment for the benefit of the company, its customers and its suppliers
Writer Emily Jarvis
Project manager Ben Wigger
Copperbelt Energy Corporation Plc (CEC) is an emerging independent power generating company, well positioned as a developer of energy including optic fibre based telecoms infrastructure in Africa. With a control centre on the Copperbelt, the company operate and maintain a network comprising transmission, distribution and generation assets. Their assets comprise of an emergency power generation capacity of 80MW, transmission and distribution network of around 1,000 km of overhead power lines, 41 high voltage substations and electricity network carrying capacity in excess of 700MW. CEC operate an interconnector with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), through which power is wheeled to Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. CEC is member of the Southern African power pool and is listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange, accounting for over 50 per cent of power consumed in Zambia.
CEC is a member of SAPP and is an independent power transmission and quality electricity distribution company with interests in Zambia and Sub- Saharan Africa, including fibre based telecommunications. As a developer of energy infrastructure in Africa, CEC is respected in the region for its skills in designing and operating transmission systems and its status as an emerging independent power generating company. CEC sponsor local top flight football club Power Dynamos and are always looking for more ways to invest in the team.
Shaping the Present and Future Business Environment
With over 50 years of experience in supplying power to the Copperbelt mines and boasting around 520km of optic fibre on power lines, CEC like to play a role in observing and shaping the present and future business environment for the benefit of the company, its customers and its suppliers to develop strategic partnerships with technical and financial resources to realise a shared vision of energy infrastructure development in Zambia and the surrounding territories.
The company's core business is driven by the expansion of mining activities by CEC's existing mine customers; connection of new mines and other mining related businesses currently in the planning stages; mining-fuelled growth of CEC's domestic wheeling in the form of domestic, industrial and commercial loads on the Copperbelt and power trading factors involving the company's international interconnector between Zambia and the DRC.
At the Centre of the Grid Network
A number of countries in Southern Africa have interconnected power grids that enable power to flow. Zambia is at the centre of this interconnected grid network, and new transmission and generation projects, therefore, have both a national and regional impact. There are, however, two fundamental challenges that face the region as a whole. The first relates to a shortage of generation to meet demand and the second, to the limited capacity of the transmission network in Southern Africa that prevents power from flowing within the region to the extent necessary to alleviate imbalances between demand and supply within different countries.
CEC's strategy is to grow and diversify its business by pursuing viable opportunities in the energy and telecommunication sectors by developing strategic partnerships with technical and financial resources to realise a shared vision of energy infrastructure development in Zambia and the surrounding territories. CEC's future growth strategy is based on identifying opportunities in Africa and seeking concessions to develop generation and transmission projects that will have a positive impact in Zambia and the region.
Kabompo Hydro Power Project
The Kabompo Hydro Power project, located in Mwinilunga District of Zambia's North-western Province, was awarded to a CEC-led consortium by the Zambian government in 2008 and marks the company's first hydroelectric power generation venture. The proposed project at an estimated cost of US$215 million is an underground power station of 40mw generation capacity with annual output of 135 Gwh. A transmission line of 35 kilometres at 132kV will be constructed to join the national grid at Kalumbila mine. This project is a great way for CEC to expand its network to be able to effectively meet their customer's power needs. Benefits associated include alleviation of national power shortage and increased security of future power supplies, creation of jobs and economic empowerment and capacity building for local populations.
Among the other projects CEC are investing in are biomass, biomass gasification and solar developments.
Key milestones to date include:
● Feasibility study completion for construction of transmission lines for evacuation of hydro power in Luapula, Katanga and Copperbelt provinces;
● Granting of conditional approval of Environmental Impact Statement (EIS);
● Initialling of Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with preferred contractor – Sinohydro Corporation Limited of China;
● Completion of LiDAR laser survey of Luapula River and catchment area to provide topographical information;
● Incorporation of CEC-Kabompo Hydro Power Limited;
● Commencement of government negotiations through the Office for Promoting Private Power Investments (OPPPI);
● Final draft of Concession agreement;
● Relevant environmental and social approvals submitted to ZEMA for review.
Safety, Health and Environment
Safety remains a priority for CEC after they performed 2.98 million man-hours without a power system lost time accident in 2012, which demonstrates an improved performance for this critical area of concern. "We are dedicated to the pursuit of an excellent SHE culture across the business," the website states.
The company hold toolbox safety talks before any work is undertaken on the system which enables them to address task-specific safety concerns. During these talks, any risks or hazards associated with the task are identified and remedial measures put in place before work can commence. CEC also facilitate radio call in programmes, school quizzes and visibility tours and inspections.
Promoting the good health of employees remains a key priority for CEC and the company have ensured that medical facilities are available and accessible for employees and their registered dependents. "Our wellness centre is managed by a Welfare Officer who is charged with the responsibility of coordinating the health programmes for CEC employees, their families and the community," according to their website.
CEC have a well-developed HIV/AIDS policy (launched in 2002). Key activities include awareness and prevention programmes to provide information to staff and their families about the various aspects of HIV and AIDS and encouraging behavioural change through workplace and community peer education. They remain committed to providing anti-retroviral drugs to their employees and eligible dependents that require them in order to improve their well-being. Under the Global Development Alliance (GDA-Mining) partnership, the company work with Comprehensive HIV/AIDS management Programme (CHAMP), to implement workplace as well as community HIV/AIDS programmes. CEC continues with its roll back malaria programme, teaming up with other institutions during the district rollback back malaria campaign, which involves spraying of homes, and in the case of CEC – offices, in most parts of Kitwe.
"We recognise that we benefit from good environmental stewardship and we are committed to implementing good environmental practices, continual improvement in environmental performance and to manage our activities in a manner consistent with our environmental obligations, both legally and morally," one of the company Directors affirms on the company website.
CEC encourages its employees to volunteer, as they continue to invest in local communities, conducting their business as a good corporate citizen in a way that helps protect the environment and demonstrates good stewardship of the country's natural resources. Finally, CEC remains committed to a diverse work force, ensuring an inclusive environment where all employees can contribute their best.