The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) has gone flat out to motivate, incentivize and promote mini-grids sprouting across the country.
The initiative is aimed at ensuring that the country has adequate power supply that can meet the ever-increasing demand for electricity among Malawians.
Recent studies have shown that Malawi is one of the least electrified countries globally currently at 11 percent overall, with 42 percent of the urban and only 4 percent of the rural population connected to electricity.
MERA therefore looks up to the development of mini-grids as an alternative source of energy Malawians can use to power their houses and business facilities.
MERA is mandated to regulate the energy sector and license energy undertakings as defined in Section 9 of the Energy Regulation Act 2004 and this includes licensing of energy undertakings, approving tariffs, and prices of energy sales and services and monitoring and enforcing compliance by licensees with licences.
And under Section 9 (2) of the Act, MERA is mandated to facilitate increasing access to energy supplies and promote the exploitation of renewable energy resources.
The Authority’s Public Relations Manager, Fitina Khonje, said it is under this mandate that MERA has undertaken the initiative to motivate and promote the mini-grids.
Khonje said, among others, the Authority has organized learning visits and knowledge exchange programmes targeting people who are developing sprouting mini-grids in their localities.
“And it’s under this initiative that we have today brought a team of officials from Chipopoma Power of Rumphi on a learning visit to Mulanje. Here in Mulanje, we have Mulanje Energy Generation Agency (MEGA), which has been producing power for sometime now and we believe their friends from Rumphi can learn something from them,” she said.
Khonje emphasized that as mini grids sprout, it is the duty of the Authority to develop and enforce performance and safety standards for energy exploitation, production transportation and distribution.
She said this is to ensure safety for the users as well as producers themselves.
“While electricity is very important, it can also be very dangerous, if it has not been handled well,” Khonje said.
MEGA Project Coordinator Arnold Kadziponye said the agency is currently supplying electricity to 1, 600 customers in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mabuka only.
Kadziponye stated that plans are underway to expand the project to reach over 10, 000 customers who have expressed interest to be connected to their grid.
“In Mulanje alone, we have over 10, 000 potentional customers. But our plan is that in the next five years, we should be generating 6.5 megawatts of which four megawatts will be sold to the national grid,” he said.
Chairperson for Chipopoma Power John Sailence described the learning visit as an eye opener.
Sailence said they will implement whatever they learned from their Mulanje counterparts.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :