Electricity customers countrywide are expected to experience increased blackouts until the end of the year in December as Electricity Generating Company (Egenco) has disclosed that the institution has no immediate plans to address the problem.
Director of Finance for Egenco, Shadreck Namalomba disclosed this after a tour on Wednesday at Egenco and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) premises organized for leaders of various civil society organizations (CSOs) and the media.
The tour took CSOs and the media to aNkula Sub Station after visiting Mapanga, Chingeni, substations as well as Tedzani and Nkula electricty generating stations.
Namalomba said Malawi will be free from blackouts in January 2018 after completion of installation of standby diesel generators.
He said the continuous reduction of water levels in Lake Malawi has affected the flow of Shire River where almost all the hydro generation plants are located.
Namalomba said the company needs about 260 cubic metres of water flowing per second to produce the required 350 megawatts.
“ESCOM has also told you that with the current demand of 190 Mega Watts, we will wait for the water levels to increase to 260 Cubic Meters Per Second against the current levels of 138 Cubic Meters Per Second. However, in absence of water levels we have also a short term plan of installation of standby diseal generators this work according to our plans will finish in December this year,” said Namalomba.
He said the current status is that Shire River could only provide only 138 cubic metres of water forcing the company to completely shut down some of the turbines.
“Honestly, Malawians should expect the current situation to continue until we have rains. But if the onset of the rains delays, blackouts will continue up to the month of December,” he hinted.
It is believed that water levels in Lake Malawi have been reduced from 3 million cubic metres to about 1 million cubic metres within the past 20 years a clear indication that other forms of power generation should seriously be looked into.
Egenco has assured electricity consumers that said if everything goes according to plan, Malawi shall start to have enough power by 2030.
Namalomba assured that as an interim measure to address the challenge, Egenco would be installing diesel power generating plants at Luwinga in Mzuzu, Kanengo in Lilongwe and Mapanga in Blantyre.
“The company is making heavy investments and currently we are developing other measures to ensure that we give Malawians the power they need. To achieve that, we are exploring alternative energy sources like solar, thermo and also building diesel plants in the country’s three regions,” he added.
“We expect that once the diesel generating plant installation is completed in December, whether we have rains or not we should reduce blackouts by 50 percent,” the Director said.
Acting Systems and Market Operator for ESCOM the only company buying and distributing electricity power in the country, Patrick Kadawe said as suppliers the corporation has equally been affected by the limited power production.
He said as a former electricity producing company, ESCOM appreciates what Egenco was going through and commended the company for the efforts it was making in ensuring that Malawians have power all day.
“People have been blaming ESCOM for the blackouts, but this is not our fault, we are only supplying the little that is available by rationalization. Malawians should understand that only 190 megawatts is available against 183 megawatts produced by Egenco and sometimes lower than that. How do you expect us to meet the demand?” Kadawe wondered.
He appealed to the private sector willing to invest in electricity production to do so as the country is in dire need of adequate power.
A representative of CSO leaders who visited Tedzani, Nkula and Kamuzu Barrage in Liwonde, Fryson Chodzi said he was concerned with the conditions which Egenco and ESCOM were operating in, noting that water levels in Shire were indeed contributing to the country’s present power situation.
“We were planning to hold peaceful demonstrations in protest to the frequent blackouts but on account of what we have seen, it is only appropriate to create room to those concerned to work at addressing the problems through installation of diesel generators, for instance,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :