Power situation will improve – Masi

Blantyre : Government has embarked on short, medium and long term measures to improve power situation in the country in order to address frequent blackouts being experienced in the country.

Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Aggrey Masi disclosed this on Saturday during the switching on of Michiru Power Line in Blantyre courtesy of Malawi Rural Electrification Programme phase eight.

He cited construction of power plants, generation of power from solar sites and cross border power connection as some of the measures to further bridge the capacity gap.

Masi said on short term measure, government through Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) is currently procuring 78 megawatts of power from privately owned company Aggreko for a period of 24 months in order to address critical power shortage.

This emergency power is being produced from Chichiri, Kanengo and Chinyama. Apart from this, government through Energy Generating Company has procured and installed six megawatts of diesel power generators in Mzuzu at Luwinga. These machines were successfully commissioned and added to national grid.

On the same, Malawi should expect to have a boost of additional twelve megawatts capacity following the rehabilitation and upgrading of Nkula A Hydro power plant from the current 24 MW to 36MW, he said.

Minister said government is pursuing generation of power from four solar sites of Salima, Lilongwe, Dedza and Nkhotakota and that, a total of 70 megawatts from solar power plants is expected to be on line by 20l9.

The first 20MW of 70MW is scheduled to be on line by December,2018 with the rest 50MW to be operational by August next year, he said.

On medium term measure, The Minister said preparations are at an advanced stage to implement the construction of 300MW Coal Fired Power Plant at Kammwamba.

The first 50MW from the power plant will be available to Malawi grid by December 202l and the rest shall be available in 2022, he said.

Masi highlighted cross border power connection being pursued by neighbouring Zambia in which ESCOM intends to get 20MW through Chipata-Mchinji to Zambia connection.

ESCOM and Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) already carried out an extensive technical and financial review of proposal based on the agreed design and requirements leading into the signing of power supply agreement of 20MW firm power to be supplied through Chipata in Zambia to ESCOM systems through Mchinji, he explained adding: with all these efforts, power shortage will be history.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA