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State defends declaration of CEC’s transmission lines as common carriers

Story Highlights
  • CEC wants the court ‘s declaration that that the decision of of Mr Nkhuwa to direct CEC to provide a wheeling path for Zesco limited to supply power to Konkola Copper Mines plc on terms dictated by the ERB is illegal and therefore null and void.

By GRACE CHAILE-LESOETSA
THE State has told the Lusaka High Court that there is nothing illegal with the decision by Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa declaring CEC’s transmission and distribution lines as common carriers.

This is in a matter where Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) Plc is seeking judicial review challenging Mr Nkhuwa’s decision to declare its lines as common carriers saying it is unlawful. It has cited the Attorney General and the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) as respondents in the matter.
CEC wants the court ‘s declaration that that the decision of of Mr Nkhuwa to direct CEC to provide a wheeling path for Zesco limited to supply power to Konkola Copper Mines plc on terms dictated by the ERB is illegal and therefore null and void.
It further wants a declaration that the decision by the director general of the Energy Regulation Board that CEC shall charge wheeling tariff of US$5.84/kw/month is illegal and therefore null and void.
It is seeking an order of certirarii to remove into the High Court for the purposes of quashing the decisions as well as an order of prohibition prohibiting the Minister from implementing or enforcing SI no 57 of 2020.
In skeleton arguments , the Attorney General Likando Kalaluka submitted that section 15 of the Electricity act no. 11of 2019 empowers the minister by SI to make regulations declaring a transmission and distribution line as a common carrier. The State also submitted that the minister’s decision was done for the purposes achieving that which the Electricity act was enacted.
Mr Kalaluka stated the parties/enterprises are at liberty to still negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement as such right has not been taken away or lost as contended by CEC.

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