Mzuzu City Council (MCC) plans to migrate from hydro power supplied by Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) to solar energy for street lights in the city.
The decision comes amid exorbitant electricity bills for the street lights the city is experiencing.
MCC Chief Executive Officer, McLoud Kadam’manja told journalists on a media tour to different government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to appreciate the progress made on the reforms agenda.
He said Mzuzu City is charged with light electricity bills as a commercial entity, hence incurring huge costs.
The chief executive officer observed that since the city wasgrowing, construction of roads needed to be intensified with the necessary provisions such as pavements and street lights.
“Now that we have got a number of streets and the bills have also been very huge since we are charged commercial rates,what we’ve done now is we are migrating from using [hydro] electricity to solar power so that we save in terms of bills and at the same time reduce costs of maintaining electricity poles,” he said.
Once implemented, Mzuzu would become the second city council to use solar for street lights after Zomba City Council.
The city is expected to migrate to solar power in street lights in the next phase of the reforms which is expected to commence next financial year.
“In our next phase, we will ensure that all the new roads that will be supplied with street lights should use solar poweredlights so that we reduce the cost of electricity bills,” he said.
Not only will the solar lights be available in the next phase of roads, but even the current designs of the roads have incorporated such lights.
Kadammanja said the only challenge is financing, saying solar lights are a bit expensive in the initial phase.
However, the CEO was optimistic that the migration would be done despite cost implications associated with the system,saying solar power becomes cheap afterwards as there are no bills to pay.
Just like any other public institution, Mzuzu City Council came up with a number of projects to undertake in its reforms agenda in order to transform the city and one of them was roads.
The first phase, which started in 2015/2016 financial year,targeted 10 kilometre stretch of roads which have been done in phases.
According to Kadammanja the city’s aim is to ensure that each location becomes accessible through tarmac roads.
“We have tried to upgrade some roads to gravel but with the weather in Mzuzu that has proved to be very costly because every year we have to maintain the roads. Learning from the first phase, we have come to understand that we need to target connector roads in locations,” he said.
Another 10 kilometre stretch of roads will be done in the second phase.
Since Mzuzu attained the status of a city in mid 1980s, it has grown three times as much, as such residents would want to enjoy the benefits of such a status in terms of service provision and one of them is better roads.
Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) Public Sector Reforms Chief Reforms Officer, Emily Tembo was impressed with the reforms happening, saying something good is happening in public institutions, thereby offering better services to residents.
In 2015 President Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika launched the Reforms Agenda which is being facilitated by OPC Public Sector Reforms. Since then, the office has been following up on what is being done on the groundFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :