Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Aggrey Masi has reaffirmed government’s commitment to ensure sustained power generation and supply in the country to address the perennial problem of electricity outages.
Masi was speaking on Saturday during a visit to the construction site of 400/132kv Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi’s (ESCOM) Phombeya sub – station and 400kv overhead line sites in Balaka respectively.
The minister assured Malawians that government was working around the clock to have the problem of electricity load shedding dealt with speed to boost the economy.
“In the interim [to avoid power interruptions], we would like to make available 100 kilowatts through the installation of diesel powered generators and use solar power to generate additional energy to beef up hydro generated electricity,” Masi said.
He pointed out that the massive electricity load shedding currently being experienced by consumers would be a thing of the past once efforts to rehabilitate and construct sub – stations with support from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) were completed.
MCA – Malawi is currently supporting the rehabilitation and construction of sub – stations at Phombeya and Nkhoma in Lilongwe to the tune of USD350 which also encompasses the unbundling of ESCOM to allow independent power producers join the sector, among other initiatives.
Masi added that the efforts being made in the energy sector would be maintained and sustained to bolster generation and supply through the interconnection with Mozambique in line with the Southern Africa Power Pool agenda.
“I am quite impressed with the work progress at both Phombeya and Nkhoma sub – stations where at least 90 percent of the equipment has arrived in the country; meaning that the 2018 deadline will be met,” Masi added.
“In fact, for you to believe in government’s commitment, you will see that there are a lot of initiatives being made in the area of tapping electricity from Mozambique and have Kam’mwamba coal fired plant,” added the Minister.
In her remarks, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Resident Country Coordinator, Molly Glenn admitted the country was making a lot of progress to revitalize the energy sector, citing the reforms at ESCOM as an important step towards improving the industry.
“The reforms at ESCOM, MERA and EGENCO are quite crucial towards sustaining the investment MCC has made in the energy sector through the grant,” Glenn said, adding that the Corporation would consider supporting Malawi in the second grant depending on performance assessment to be conducted in December in Washington DC.
The MCC compact which Malawi obtained came into force in September 2013 and runs up to September 2018.
The compact also supports government to increase the capacity and stability of the national electricity grid and the efficiency and sustainability of hydropower generation to enhance future expansion opportunities and sector regulation and governance.