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Malawi’s energy crisis: Easter weekend celebrations in blackouts, Egenco on machines rehabilitations 

EGENCO announced electricity blackout this easter

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)- Malawians should brace themselves for tough times again during this year’s Easter weekend celebrations, which this year is slated for April 13, 2017. This is in the wake of the daunting announcement recently for electricity load shedding.

The Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO) announced that the electricity distribution company, plans to take out 124 megawatts of power during that holiday weekend to conduct repair of machines at Nkula and Kapichira power stations.
The development is expected to leave the country with 65 percent of the total installed power. The company, however said the station’s service will be brought back on Saturday, April 15 in the evening.
EGENCO Chief Executive Officer, William Liabunya, told reporters that the institution wants to take advantage of the fall in demand during Easter to rehabilitate its machines.
Liabunya said that at Nkula A, the company will begin with Millennium Challenge Corporation rehabilitation works that aim to modernize and upgrade the power station.
On the shutting off and draining of the dam at Nkula, which will likely to have an impact on the pumping of water to Blantyre by the Blantyre Water Board (BWB), Egenco EGENCO) chief assured the general public that mitigation measures are in place to avert any challenges in water supply to customers.
Commenting on water the levels in Lake Malawi as the main source of water supply to Shire River, Liabunya said there is still sea level shortfall of 1.5 metres that is required to meet the required amount of 474.5. Currently the level as of January, 2017 was 473.
He therefore said the situation has slightly improved at the end of January since the levels increased by 0.42 metres and a further addition of 0.65m as of March 19, 2017, attributing to the sharp increase to the continued heavy rainfall pouring in the central and northern regions of the country.
“We experienced heavy rains in the southern region, that we were able to generate enough electricity to the maximum. Therefore, with the continued rainfall pouring in the northern and central regions, we expect to generate enough power.
Liabunya expressed optimism for better days as he cited that the weekend of March 24 when Malawi had rains in the south, arguably power supply was normal.
Malawians on the social media are still blasting the country’s energy utility supply body for the continued blackouts despite favorable rainfall across Malawi.
Citizens are asking if EGENCO has other reasons to give for failing to provide electricity. They remind the company that due to blackouts, manufacturing industry is adversely affected, leading to shortfalls in production lines. Also affected are small-scales businesses including welding, barbers shops, hair salons, and maize mills among others.
However, early this year President Peter Mutharika offered short-term solutions to avert electricity blackouts. He announced the Malawi government procurement of 46 Mega Watts’s diesel generators, which will be ready soon for use in Lilongwe and Mzuzu, acquiring of 78 Mega Watts of Emergency Power Plant by ESCOM on lease basis for an initial estimated period of 18 months.
While the long-term solutions include generation, Transmission and Distribution Expansion and Reinforcement, the carrying capacity of the Transmission Lines, will be increased to about 1,150MW by 2018 and a 400kV Transmission Line is currently being constructed from Phombeya (Balaka) to Nkhoma.
The Line is expected to be completed by September 2018. The Phombeya Sub-Station will be the landing point for the Malawi-Mozambique Interconnector.
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