The Zambian government has said it does not intend to take over the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), after declaring the firm’s power lines as a “common carrier” which any entity could use at an agreed fee.
The company said the government’s decision amounted to expropriation of its infrastructure and “inhibiting it from making viable business decisions”.
“CEC is now on the brink of defaulting on all its loans borrowed from international lenders,” said company spokesperson, Chama Nsabika in a statement.
But Energy Minister Matthew Nkhuwa is quoted by Reuters news agency as saying the government has no intention of taking over the firm.
The minister had on Friday warned CEC against disconnecting power supply to Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), saying such an action would amount to economic sabotage.
The mines owe the power distributor more than $144m (£114m) in unpaid electricity charges spanning over a year.
Zambia has experienced rolling power blackouts because of insufficient electricity generation and the government has been trying to attract private investors into the power sector.