President Professor Peter Mutharika has advised Malawians not to despair due to the frequent power outages being experienced across the country, saying government will deploy long term measures to address the problem.
According to the President’s Press Officer, Mgeme Kalirani, Mutharika gave the assurance on Wednesday during a surprise visit to Energy Generation Company (EGENCO) and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) to express his personal frustration with the current electricity situation in the country.
“His Excellency’s visit to the two organizations was basically for several reasons, the first being to express his personal frustration with the situation where people have to stay without power for longer hours,” he said.
Kalirani said the president has since assured people in the country that government was doing everything possible to solve the problem once and for all. He added that the president shares the frustrations that come with the frequent power outages on both local and foreign investors.
The State House Press Officer, however, said the first citizen appreciates some efforts deployed by EGENCO and ESCOM to address the problem, citing the installation of generators to boost electricity mega watts as one case in point.
“For example, the President noted efforts being taken by ESCOM to deal with the massive blackouts by constructing the Kamwamba Power Generation Plant as one long term measure,” said Kalirani, adding that the president is not sleeping over the issue until it is solved.
Commenting on the president’s visit and current power situation in an interview, ESCOM Board Chairperson, Perks Ligoya, attributed the power outages to low water levels in Lake Malawi resulting to generation of less mega watts by EGENCO which ESCOM has to supply to a large population.
Ligoya said due to the low water levels, EGENCO is only producing 180 mega watts instead of the demanded 300 mega watts.
“Now, out of those 180 mega watts, 70 mega watts are distributed to sensitive institutions such as hospitals, water boards… so that people can have water. Now that leaves very little, only about 100 mega watts to be distributed to everyone in Malawi,” said Ligoya.
He said due to this situation, they have to distribute the available mega watts equitably and not favouring one area from another. The ESCOM board chair added that people’s frustrations were understandable.
Ligoya added that the president had advised them to look into alternative source of energy to hydro-electricity. He said they have already signed some agreements concerning solar energy that will see them generating 70 mega watts which will be installed in 18 months time.
He also cited another alternative source of energy currently being looked into, such as that of the use of diesel generators that will help them produce 78 additional mega watts by December.