By SANFROSSA MANYINDA
THE Copperbelt Energy Cooperation (CEC) says theft and vandalism of the company’s installations has continued to be a major source of concern.
The power utility firm said theft of it’s copper conductors on its transmission line remained the number one threat to the operational security of the network.
CEC Managing Director Owen Silavwe said these thefts were mainly experienced in Chingola and Chililabombwe towns.
Mr Silavwe observed that the majority of transmission lines carrying copper conductors had been left susceptible to the thefts due to the expansion of local market for copper.
He said this was because unscrupulous copper traders and semi-copper smelters providing a ready market for stolen conductors had mushroomed across the Copperbelt
“We have continued to see a significant increase in vandalism and theft of copper conductors on the line infrastructure including earthing conductors and cables in substations.
“A total of 44 incidents were reported during the review period of 2020 compared to 22 in 2019. Of these incidents, 24 were thefts of overhead copper conductors on our 66KV transmission lines particularly in the Northern and Central areas,” he said.
Mr Silavwe was however pleased to announce that close collaboration between the company and state police apprehended some perpetrators of such criminal acts and that they were on trial before the courts of law.
He further explained that the firm was determined to secure conviction in all cases before the courts to serve as a deterrent to others.
He said the company had continued to adopt and improve strategies to redress the situation as it worked with the state police and adopted technology-based solutions.