Escom rolls out 8-hour load shedding programme

Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has issued a new eight-hour electricity load-shedding programme model which seeks to ensure equitable distribution of electrical energy in the face of power outages.

This follows an announcement by Escom this week of an extended nationwide power rationing schedule that saw some areas going between a minimum of nine hours and a maximum of 25 hours without power.

Heads Escom: Mwapasa

Escom public relations officer George Mituka said yesterday that this is in response to complaints about Escom not adhering to its published programme.

In the new model, a day has been divided into three equal segments of eight hours each and, therefore, its domestic customers have been divided into three equal groups. The day, according to the new model, starts from 4 am the first day and ends at 4am the next day.

On the first day of the week, the first group, will have power supply from 4am to noon. The second group will have electricity from noon to 8pm while the last group will have supply from 8 pm to 4am.

“There is need to rotate customers, so it is fair to let the first group be supplied as phase two customers on the second day thus noon to 8 pm; second group customers should have electricity in the third phase and consequently, the third group customers of the first day be supplied as first group customers in the second day,” said Escom in a published statement yesterday.

During the past week, power generation woes worsened with a loss of 20 megawatts (MW), leading some areas to go without power for over 24 hours.

On Tuesday, Electricity Generation Company (Egenco), which sells its power to Escom for supply to consumers, described the downward spiral of power generation from 180 megawatts (MW) to 160MW as “alarming”.

From the 160MW being generated, between 60MW and 70MW is reserved for critical centres of national interest, including hospitals and water boards, with the remaining 100MW or less expected to be shared by domestic and industrial consumers, according to Egenco chief executive officer William Liabunya.

Analysts have, however, cautioned on the energy crisis being experienced in the country, saying it is neither sustainable nor compatible with the level of growth which would make Malawi develop.

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