Hope and expectations for meaningful social and economic livelihoods have been re-ignited among residents of Likoma and Chizumulu Islands following the installation of the modern hybrid power plants.
Clifford Kawinga, a youthful entrepreneur and the Chief Executive Officer of Creck Hardware and General Supplies, is the man that has ended an era of persistent power cuts and load shedding at the two islands.
Kawinga’s company has successfully executed a Malawi Government contract to supply and install four diesel powered electricity generators on the two islands, effectively ending a dark era of prolonged power blackouts and load shedding there.
The youthful entrepreneur was awarded the MK952 million contract to supply and install the gensets under the Malawi Rural Electrification Program (MAREP).
And excited with the presence of uninterrupted electricity supply, the residents agree with Kawinga’s own words that “such a development means a paradigm shift in people’s economic activities–a genesis for good ideas that would lead to implementation of vibrant and beneficial businesses”.
Apparently, all facilities at Likoma and Chizumulu are now fully operational in their quest to provide satisfactory services to the people.
One of the residents, Emmanuel Chilanga, is happy for he is just about to fullfil his long held ambition of operating a welding shop at Likoma.
And he is grateful to government and Kawinga for bringing the gensets.
“I feel it is high time people here stopped getting most of the welded materials from the mainland. I want to contribute towards easing their burden while I also earn a living through my business,” says Chilanga.
Another resident, James Nyirenda, wants to plant two maize mills at Likoma, saying those that are available currently, are not enough to meet the demand for the increasing population on the island which is now at about 14,000.
“With this assurance of electricity, I can now conformably settle here and start my maize milling business,” he says.
Before government and Kawinga brought the new diesel powered generators, a worn out 250 Kilowatts genset was struggling to generate electricity on Likoma and Chizumulu Islands.
The genset, which often needed maintenance, produced too little power, which was heavily rationed, making it difficult for the residents to access crucial services and engage in meaningful businesses.
The new Perkings Engine generators–two 560 Kilowatts and two 320 Kilowatts–that Kawinga bought from Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates–are producing 1.760 megawatts of electricity, which is more than enough for the two islands.
The two 560 Kilowatts gensets are placed at Likoma and the other two 320 Kilowatts are placed at Chizumulu.
Engineers working on the machines say these are the best power generators Malawi has ever had.
Actually, it is one 560 Kilowatts genset which is currently powering the whole Likoma while the other one is just on standby.
The Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Bintony Kutsaira, commissioned the generators in mid December last year amid great excitement and expectation among residents of the two islands.
He said the presence of uninterrupted power supply on the two islands would not only boost the morale of local entrepreneurs but also encourage foreign investors to invest in tourism on the islands.
“Likoma and Chizumulu are now the main destinations for tourism investment in Malawi. Let people come and build hotels or invest in anything serious because we now have enough power supply throughout here,” said Kutsaira.
Chief Executive Officer for Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO), William Liyabunya, concurred with Kutsaira, adding that EGENCO is currently setting up a solar energy plant for the two islands which will run interchangeably with the diesel powered gensets in order to create more opportunities for investment.
According to Liyabunya, the solar energy plant will be commissioned in June this year.