ONIEDA – A group of utility officials from the African nation of Zambia visited Plateau Electric Cooperative in Onieda on Wednesday to learn more about electric cooperatives.
Representatives of the Zambian Electric Cooperative Development Program visited PEC to gather vital information as part of their five-year initiative to support increased electric utility access in rural Zambia. The visit was coordinated by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s International Program.
“The Cooperatives formed by the ZECDP will contribute to the country’s goal of increasing the current 4% rural electrification rate to 51% by 2030,” says Rajeena Shakya, Business Development Specialist for NRECA International. The Zambian study tour hopes to increase awareness of the electric co-op development process and key technical assistance needed to support emerging co-ops.
“Our CEO Dave Cross led the group during their time here, showing them our facilities, discussing operations, statistics, and logistics,” said Rachel Human, communications director for Plateau Electric Cooperative. “It was important to us to show them how electric co-ops are managed and governed.”
The Zambian delegates were given an overview by Cross and PEC board president Tim Freels on the history of the cooperative, billing information, the board election process, as well as the cooperative’s service area and organizational structure. The group wrapped up their visit by taking a tour of the cooperative’s Scott County facility.
The Zambia Electric Cooperative Development Program will receive funding from multiple national and international sources, but the first step in the process was to view a successful electric co-op in action and gather information. “We wanted to demonstrate the community-based electric co-op model and how local community is not only a priority, but supported by investing which generates income for growth,” Shakya said.
“This meeting was very beneficial to our group,” said Dr. Chimuka Francescah Chisangano, Permanent Secretary and Zambian Ministry of Energy official, at the conclusion of the visit. “I believe the success that PEC has had can be duplicated in Zambia. It’s all about bringing equal access to electricity to our people.”
“We’re really pleased that we got to host you all today,” said Dave Cross, CEO of Plateau Electric Cooperative, at the conclusion of the visit. “All of us here at PEC are honored to have been chosen to work with this outstanding group.”