Malawi braces for black out during festive season –Escom

Malawi is set to plunge into worse series of load shedding during the Christmas and New Year festive seasons because of what Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) says is due to reduced generation capacity.

The country is already experiencing heavy load power cuts due to load shedding.

But Escom public relations manager Kitty Chingota said the country should expect more blackouts due to storms in the rainy season.

“So far, we have opened the Kapichira Power Station and everything is fine. However, load shedding will continue because we generate less power than demand. Again, this is rainy season and storms are inevitable. This will affect electricit,” said Chingota as quoted by The Nation newspaper on Thursday.

Chingota: Brace up for balckouts
Chingota: Brace up for balckouts

Escom announced the shutdown of Kapichira Power Station from December 13 2013 to December 15 2013. Many consumers expected improved power supply after the shutdown, but Chingota dismissed the assertion, saying: “The purpose of the shutdown [of the power station] was to enable the contractor to carry out commissioning tests of the Kapichira Phase 2 new machines and carry out other maintenance works. Everything went well, but generation capacity remains the same.”

Chingofa warns that there will be numerous blackouts this season, as electricity demand of over 350 megawatts outstrips power generation capacity of 288 megawatts.

Escom has since applied for a tariff hike of 58 percent to the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) which is currently holding public hearings to get stakeholders’ views.

But the proposals are facing resistance as consumers  have not healed from their anger when Escom donated K35 million (about $85 700) to the Presidential Initiative on Safe Motherhood as well as for purchasing vehicles worth K1.4 billion (about $3.5m), developments seen as extravagant.

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