Lusaka, Zambia — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 25 August 2011 – Zambia’s Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) “’ the main supplier of power to the country’s mines “’ expects the cost of electricity to nearly double by 2015 as new generation plants come on stream.
Making this prediction here, CEC director for corporate development Michael Tarney told Reuters in an interview that the cost of electricity for the mines would have to increase from the current price of around 5 cents per kilowatt hour, because the capital costs for new generation plants were high.
“The selling price of power to large-scale mines should migrate to 8 to10 cents by 2015,” he said. “It requires financial institutions to put money on the table, and it requires our customers to accept that they need to pay a bit more for power to make the projects viable,” he added.
Tarney said some mining companies were contesting the 30% electricity price increase for 2011 which Zambia’s energy regulator approved this month, but CEC would try to convince them to pay.
Miners in Africa’s top copper producer were investing in new mines and expansion projects, which would raise their power requirements by about 40% in the next four years, he said.
“If they don’t accept these increases power projects will be delayed, and if projects get delayed there won’t be any power for the mines,” he pointed out.
“Southern Africa faces a power shortage which is likely to worsen in the next two to three years, and there is a need to attract investment in electricity generation,” Tarney said.