The country’s main producer of power Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) has increased generation of power with combined output of up to 280 megawatts from hydro and diesel-powered generators.
The output represents an improvement in electricity generation which in recent years dropped up to 140 megawatts against installed generation capacity of 350 megawatts.
In the past 3 years, electricity consumers have suffered long hours of power rationing in which 2017 hit a record 23 hours of no power supply a day in many areas as Egenco and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) attributed the prolonged hours to insufficient power generation resulting from low water levels in Lake Malawi and its sole outlet, the Shire River, where 95 percent of the hydro-power is produced.
Egenco spokesperson Moses Gwaza dismissed suggestions that the improved power supply consumers are currently enjoying is due to the end-of-year shutdown by most industries which consume more power.
Instead, he said the improved power generation and supply is a result of the increased water levels in Shire River that is complemented by the recent commissioning of diesel-powered generators at Mapanga in Blantyre with an output of 20 megawatts.
“The current improved power supply is not temporary as other quarters are speculating. As Egenco, we are working to sustain the power generation for consumers” said Gwaza
He then said Egenco is producing about 230 megawatts from hydro source and about 50 megawatts from diesel generators, thereby making 280 megawatts. In recent months, Egenco’s power output was at around 180 megawatts.
Most electricity consumers have reported improved power supply as manifested by reduced hours of load shedding in the past few weeks. But according to Consumer Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito said power supply has really improved with load shedding reduced from between 6 and 9 hours a day to around 2 hours, the consumer rights body would take a wait-and-see approach before celebrating the same.
“If Egenco is saying that this improved power availability is not temporary then we say it is our Christmas Santa because it has happened during Christmas and it is unexpected.” said Kapito. He continued by saying, if they promise us to sustain or even improve further the power generation then that is good news. However, as consumers we will take them by their word on a wait-and-see mode because we know most industries are on holiday.