The mismatch between electricity supply and demand is well documented but, perhaps, the year 2017 is when the situation escalated into a major crisis, the type for which a state of emergency would apply. Earlier in January, the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) dropped a shocker informing the nation that it was operating at half capacity, producing, on average, 150 megawatts (MW) of its total installed capacity pegged at 351MW. This was before Escom was successfully unbundled creating two companies, one responsible for power generation and the other distribution.
Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has described the increase in power generation from 147 megawatts (MW) to 200MW as a positive development for its customers as load shedding hours will be reduced.
In an interview yesterday, Escom acting public relations manager George Mituka said that on their part, they rely on the amount generated by their sister company, Electricity Generation Company (Egenco).
He said: "Obviously that increase will trickle down to our customers by the same magnitude. More water will mean less load shedding for our customers.
Perhaps one of the most pressing challenges facing the Malawian economy in 2016 and beyond is maintaining the structural integrity of is generation network.
The power system has come under severe strain due to maintenance backlogs and a to bring new generating capacity timeously online to match and social development. This has led to electricity demand at times outstripping supply.
Some Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE)-listed firms expect their profits for the period ending December 31 2017 to be higher than the previous corresponding period.
In published trading statements yesterday, hotel chain Sunbird Tourism Plc and integrated information and communications technology and Internet service provider TNM Plc indicated that they are expecting their profits to exceed the previous corresponding period by more than 70 and 60 percent respectively.
Malawi is set to finalise paperwork with potential financiers to facilitate purchase of power through interconnection with Mozambique and Zambia national grids in a bid to ease prolonged electricity supply that threatens to ground the economy to a standstill.
European Union (EU) head of delegation Marchel Gerrmann and Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe separately indicated yesterday the financing agreement for the deal will be finalised early next year.