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Malawi’s Escom still struggling with power generation constraints

BLANTYRE (Maravipost)– Malawi, especially Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) customers are still faced with increased power supply outages even after the commissioning of Kapichira Phase II machines in January this year.

With the commissioning of Kapichira Phase II machines, which added 64.8 Mega Watts to the national grid, electricity users expected steady supply of electricity.

 But eight months down the line, customers are still subjected to power supply outages, especially in Lilongwe and the northern region.

However, the Corporation has attributed power supply outages to winter season and tobacco marketing and processing season resulting into increased demand for electricity.

Escom also claims that power generation capacity constraints were exacerbated by the new customers that were connected to the Corporation’s supply following Escom’s “deliberate effort to clear a backlog of applications”.

“This development resulted in the transmission and distribution equipment being overloaded, which in turn necessitated evening loading shedding in some parts of Lilongwe where demand is highest, and load shedding during the day and in the evening is some parts of the northern region where voltages were low,” said Kitty Chinseu-Chingota, Escom spokesperson.

According to her, some transmission equipment in Lilongwe developed faults, one of which has been rectified and procurement of the remaining parts is at an advanced stage.

She said to correct the situation, the Corporation carried out network reconfiguration in Lilongwe.

“The situation has improved. Voltage improving machine equipment has been installed in Karonga. It is thus hoped that after these interventions, power outages due to voltage collapse will drastically reduce in the north,” she said.

She said Escom will continue with maintenance programs to strengthen the network, refurbish its plant and maintain it in top working condition in addition to attending to faults.

Escom, she claimed, will also increase and reinforce its network’s capacity through the ongoing implementation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation-Malawi Compact (MCC Compact).

When completed, MCC project will increase the capacity of Nkula A machines from 24MW to 36MW through efficiency gains.

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