Blackouts in Malawi continue to cripple the economy. While authorities are indicating that they are working on interventions to lessen the impact on costumers, the Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) thinks more needs to be done. George Mhango talks to Mejn Executive Director, Dalitso Kubalasa:
Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) says it expects the power generation capacity to reduce further to below the current 147 megawatts (MW) as the water levels in Lake Malawi keep on dropping.
In a published update on the power capacity available for distribution in the country, the sole power supplier said it has lost a capacity of 13MW from the 160MW it has been operating on for the past three weeks.
Malawians will have to wait a little longer to experience any improvement in electricity supply after Electricity Generation Company of Malawi (Egenco) confirmed that rains received in some parts of the country have not had had much impact on water levels in Lake Malawi where the company taps water for electricity generation.
Towards the end of last week, Electricity Supply Company of Malawi (Escom) issued a statement advising its customers that capacity of electricity available for distribution has gone down further to 147 megawatts from 160 megawatts.
Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) says the coming in of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) will increase the cost of electricity, ending speculation on the affordability of electricity.
At the current 351 megawatts (MW) capacity, the country still fails to meet its demand as Energy Generation Company (Egenco) supplies between 145MW and 150MW to Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) against the average demand of 300MW.
First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Esther Mcheka Chilenje yesterday morning apologised to members of Parliament (MPs) for a power cut that happened the previous day, saying it resulted from an Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (Escom) electric fault.
Addressing the House before the beginning of the proceedings, Chilenje said Escom has assured them of no power interruptions during the entire sitting as the problem has been rectified.
Chinese Ambassador Shi Ting Wang has reiterated that the Kammwamba Coal Fired Power Plant project remains Beijing’s top priority among China’s listed development projects in the country.
Once completed, the proposed power plant is expected to generate about 300 megawatts (MW) on top of the existing power capacity which the Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) generates from its power plants at Nkula, Tedzani and Kapichira.
The persistent power outages besetting his nation need no introduction. And the impacts of these outages are there for all to see: Some manufacturing companies have scaled down their production, producing at around 40 percent of their optimal capacity, subsequently resulting in shortages on the market of some critical products such as cement; Small and Medium Entreprises (SMEs) whose core business rely solely on electricity have not been spared either with the survival of these small businesses remaining a daunting task in this hostile business environment.
The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) is banking on new guidelines for liquid and petroleum gas (LPG) to increase uptake of gas, whose consumption, at 150 grammes per capita, is the lowest in the region.
Unlike other countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region, Malawi has made less strides in the sector due to public perception; thereby losing out on an important alternative energy source.