Prolonged load shedding scheduled for Sunday

Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) alerts the public that it will implement prolonged load shedding on Sunday, February 19, due to a further reduction in power supply.

The power supply deficit on this day is due to maintenance works that ESCOM’s major hydro-power supplier, Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO) will undertake at Nkula A and B Power Stations from 06:00 hrs-17:00 hrs.

“We will have only 130 megawatts (MW) available to supply essential loads, including central referral hospitals and water boards in all the regions,” said the statement from ESCOM management.

“Consequently, all domestic customers will be subjected to an average of 15 hours of load shedding and 17 hours for industrial feeders. Customers are advised to switch off electrical appliances during the stated period, as power supply may be restored earlier than anticipated.”

Kumwenda speaking during the meeting with commercial and industrial customers

Meanwhile, in order to conserve energy, ESCOM is encouraging customers to switch off lights in unoccupied rooms and idle electrical appliances.

On February 7, when ESCOM introduced an advanced light emitting diodes (LED) Tube lighting project to save on energy, Chief Executive Officer, Kamkwamba Kumwenda disclosed that there are many customers who turn their residential premises into a business facility — some of which require extra power from the grid.

Such business premises include lodges, maize mills welding and meta fabrication and others, which require two phase but what was applied for is a single phase service and Kumwenda said such extra power is straining the capacity of transformers.

He said there are various types of transformers — for residential, commercial and industrial use — and if several residential premises are turned into business facilities such as lodges, maize mills, welding & metal fabrication and other industrial services, they need high powered transformers.

Nkula Hydro Power Station

He reiterated that, while this is to save lifespan of transformers — that keep tripping off due to too much power it has to supply — failure not to declare with ESCOM the change of status of residences into business premises is punishable by law.

In the advanced LED project, ESCOM is replacing inefficient fluorescent tubes with more energy efficient Tubes for industry, all government departments and commercial buildings.

At the launch to entice commercial and industrial customers to join in the energy saving initiative — that was graced by Minister of Energy, Ibrahim Matola — Kumwenda said the project is targeting replacement of 415,000 fluorescent tubes to save over 9.3 megawatts (MW) on the national grid.

He announced that electricity lighting is estimated to account for around 30% of power demand in the country, saying: “Lighting is thus a very important aspect of the demand that ESCOM had to consider in addressing electricity demand-capacity gap in the county through public awareness campaigns and direct interventions.

Meanwhile, as power transmission and supply lines were being brought down due to the torrential rains from last week that seems to be continuing, ESCOM warned the public not to get near or touch any electricity wires or poles that might have fallen on the ground or are leaning badly as they might be live and cause accidents.

They should instead report immediately to ESCOM or any nearest Police station for action.

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