Allocation of staff to the two companies that will emerge after the split of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) is expected to be completed this week, an official has said.
Escom is expected to be split into Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) and Escom Residual, which are expected to be operational from January 1 2017.
The process is part of the power sector reform project, a component of the $350.7 million (about K242 billion) United States of America (USA) government-funded five-year Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) energy compact that seeks to improve generation and distribution infrastructure of the sole power supplier.
Department of Energy affairs deputy director Joseph Kalowekamo said in an interview the Escom board is currently working on staff allocation, which will be completed before the year ends on Sunday.
He said: “Meetings are underway to decide who goes to the Egenco and remains to the residual Escom.
“The Escom board has until 31 December to have everything in place so that come January 1, Egenco is operational.” Kalowekamo said they have identified Chayamba Building to house Egenco, adding that posts such as those of accountants will be shared but big positions such as chief executive will be filled no later than January 31 2017.
On his part, Escom Workers Union secretary general Joseph Kamwendo said they are not shaken by the transition as they have an assurance letter from government on job security, adding that they are only hoping that government lives to its commitment.
He said the union is of the view that whoever goes, either Escom Residual or Egenco will have the same job, on the same terms and conditions.
However, Kamwendo stated that the assurance is for those in permanent jobs and not those on contracts.
He said: “Our issue has always been job security. This we have made known to government as shareholder and Escom board. What we want is the law to take action.
“We are aware that when transferring people, they should be transferred on the same terms and conditions and if the conditions are worse off then that becomes a constructive dismissal, which means that person should get a new contract or get paid.”
Elsewhere in Africa, Sierra Leone last year also unbundled its power firm and integrated them to form two entities, Electricity Generation and Transmission Company (EGCT) and the Electricity Distribution and Supply Company (EDSA).
The country has been experiencing inadequate power supply, protracted power outages and several technical losses.
Escom is the sole power provider in Malawi, with total installed grid capacity of 351.75 megawatts (MW, of which 95 percent is from hydro-plants on the Shire River.
The transmission grid is characterised by long transmission lines resulting in huge energy losses while the distribution system comprises heavily loaded lines operating at low voltages and over-loaded transformers, according tothe Millennium Challenge Account-Malawi (MCA-M).
Environmental degradation of catchment area, resulting in increased load of sediment and aquatic weed transportation, negatively affects machine performance.
There is no regional interconnections yet.n