Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has confirmed that power generation slumps again and announced extended hours of load shedding of up to 18 hours for five days during Easter holidays.
ESCOM says in a statement seen by Nyasa Times that its main power supplier—Electricity Generation Company Limited (EGENCO)—has lost output by 20% and they will be carrying out major maintenance works at Nkhulembe Bhydro-electric power station; hence, the return of the extended load-shedding.
According to the statement, the hydro-power production capacity will reduce from the current 117 megawatts (MW) to 115 MW against the national demand of around 305MW.
“On our part as Escom, the Aggreko Emergency Diesel Power Plants (35MW at Chichimutaz in Blantyre and 20 MW at Kanengo in Lilongwe ) are planned to be running for 12 hours pervstation to moderate demand fluctuations for the days and, therefore, mitigate the impact of the capacity shortage,” reads Escom statement in part.
Escom said Egenco on the other hand, will at most run 15MW of their diesel power plants in parallel with 20MW for Kanengo Aggreko site.
But is not immediately clear why EGENCO’s power output has retreated so sharply at a time the country has received heavy rains that must have boosted water levels in Lake Malawi—the main source of water for the Shire River from where EGENCO generates the bulk of the country’s power supply.
Government abought generators to boost power generation and improve supply.
Thus, since January 31 2018—when President Peter Mutharika commissioned 55 Megawatts (MW) generators at ESCOM’s Chichiri Power Station in Blantyre—the situation improved markedly, with households and individuals celebrating wildly.
The 55 MW is part of 78 MW of emergency power supply procured from Aggreko—an Independent Power Producer (IPP)—as a short term solution against prolonged load-shedding..
In November 2016, President Mutharika told the nation that as part of short-term intervention measures into the power supply crisis, ESCOM would acquire diesel-operated generators on lease basis for an initial estimated period of 18 months.
The gensets arrived in the country in January on 129 trucks through Mwanza Border Post from Mozambique’s Beira Port.
ESCOM board chairperson Dr. Perks Ligoya—who was accompanied by Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining chief director MChimwemwe Banda, Escom chief executive officer Dr. Alex Chiwaya and other senior ESCOM officials—told journalists at Zobue in Mozambique that the arrival of the gensets would contribute to the improvement of power supply by reducing blackouts, thereby improving the country’s economy.
According to Escom officials, out of the total 78 MW, 35 MW would be installed at Chichiri in Blantyre, 23 MW at Chinyama in Kasungu and the remaining 20 MW at at Kanengo in Lilongwe.
When the gensets arrived and President Mutharika commissioned some of them in Blantyre, Malawians breathed a sigh of relief.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :