Last week, Copperbelt Energy Corporation Plc (CEC), the main supplier of power to the Zambian mines, confirmed that it had restricted the amount of power supply to Glencore’s Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) – following an 8-month payment dispute.
CEC in a statement explained: “In November 2016, Copperbelt Energy Corporation Plc’s (CEC) main supplier of power, ZESCO Limited (ZESCO), commenced tariff negotiations with CEC and mine customers to agree an upward adjustment to the applicable tariffs to take effect from 1st January 2017 (the 2017 tariff).
“This was seen as a stop-gap measure to help bridge the gap between the increasing cost of providing electricity and the prevailing tariffs to various customer categories while awaiting the results of the cost of service study being spearheaded by the Energy Regulation Board.”
Mopani Copper Mines in disagreement
Toward the end of quarter two 2017, all of CEC’s customers other than Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) had agreed to the 2017 tariff and started meeting the new bills issued on the basis of the new tariff.
ZESCO also implemented the new tariff to CEC and required that CEC meets its payment obligations, CEC added.
“To date, MCM has rejected the industry-wide tariff increment and sought to continue to pay for the electricity they consume at the old tariff,” CEC explained.
Already 8-months into the new tariff regime, MCM is in arrears creating a non-viable situation for the utilities. Read more…
CEC has therefore had no option but to restrict power supply to MCM to a level commensurate with the monthly payments that MCM continues to make to CEC, the energy firm said.
“In effecting this restriction beginning 11th August, CEC endeavoured to restrict power only to selected loads on the surface while other surface loads and all underground operations continue to receive their full power requirements.
“During the restriction process, CEC worked with MCM in ensuring the safety of miners was prioritised,” CEC concluded.
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