President Peter Mutharika on Wednesday will commission the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) power generators that are expected to add 55 megawatts (MW) to the country’s national power grid which will be followed by hike of electricity tariffs for an average of 24.67 percent.
The gensets are expected to ease extended load shedding hours as Malawians have been experiencing which Escom attributed to the decline in the water levels in Lake Malawi and the Shire River.
However, the genesets will come with a price, as Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) approved Escom’s application on increasing electricity tariffs by 24.67 percent on condition that the service provider starts using the gensets.
Mera chief executive officer Collins Magalasi said they received “a request” from Escom to increase the tarrifs last year but they asked the service provider not implement the approved tariffs when it starts “supplying power from the generators.”
Currently, Escom charges K58.80 per kilowatts per hour and with the 24.67 percent hike, the price of electricity per kilowatts will likely increase to K73.23.
Consumer Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito said what it matters is “Malawians to have electricity all times.”
Initially, the gensets were supposed to start running from October last year but failed due to what the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) described as Escom’s poor handling of the procurement process as no single generator had been procured by then.
It is reported that in December 2016, Escom’s evaluation committee recommended that lots one and two in Mapanga and Kanengo be awarded to APR energy with evaluated prices of $34.6 million and $24.9 million while lot three at Chinyama in Kasungu was recommended for award to Aggreko International Projects at $18.9 million.
However, when the bids’ evaluation team presented its report to the internal procurement committee (IPC), the recommendations were not upheld.
The geneset deal has been riddled with corruption and leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera said in Parliament that there should be an inquiry.