Malawians should brace for frequent power blackouts as the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has said the country will continue to experience a shortfall in electricity supply, a development that will negatively impact on the business community and crucial services.
In a letter addressed to the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), Escom Chief Executive Officer Evelyn Mwapasa said their customers, the business community including hospitals will from time to time be experiencing load shedding.
“As you might be aware, the country is experiencing electricity supply shortage due to, among other factors, inadequate hydro electricity generation arising from low water levels on Lake Malawi and reduced flows on Shire River.
“Reports so far show that the country will continue to experience a shortfall in electricity supply unless the country receives normal to above normal rainfall for a period of about five years consecutively, or effective short to medium term interventions are implemented,” the letter, dated July 31 2017, reads in part.
Apparently, Mwapasa wrote MCCCI to invite its members to Escom’s regional meetings organized to update electricity users on the status of electricity supply in the country.
She claimed that they would to paint a clear picture of the situation to enable consumers plan better for the challenge.
“Whilst we are implementing some interventions to minimize the impact of the challenges on our customers, it is essential that our customers especially the business community and crucial services like hospitals, put up mitigation measures to minimize the impact,” said Mwapasa.
Meanwhile, the Millennium Account Malawi (MCA-Malawi) observed that to improve electricity generation through reduced sedimentation in Shire River, there is need for communities living along this river basin to take part in sustainable use and management of natural resources such as forest cover and land.
In September 2013, Malawi government was given $350 million for the implementation of energy projects with MCA-Malawi as a local implementing agency of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) energy compact.
With the funds, Malawi looks forward to improving the availability, reliability, and quality of the power supply by increasing the throughput capacity and stability of the national electricity grid and increasing efficiency of hydropower generation through investment in Infrastructure Development Project.
The compact also seeks to create an enabling environment for future expansion of the power sector by strengthening sector institutions and enhancing regulation and governance of the sector through investment in the Power Sector Reform Project; and also to mitigate the growing problems of aquatic weed infestation and excessive sedimentation in the Shire River Basin to reduce the costly distruptions to Malawi’s hydropower generation through investment in Environmental and Natural Resource Management Project.
The initiative is expected to run until September 2018.