The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) says while businesses are striving to use improved technologies in the face of persistent electricity outages, there is need for government intervention on the issue.
In an e-mailed response to a questionnaire on Tuesday, MCCCI president Karl Chokotho said industries are always striving to use improved technologies as this increases productivity and reduces costs but the solution lies in the nation moving as in we are in a crisis.
“So far actions don’t give the picture we are in crisis, government must decisively and proactively deal with this issue and reduce timelines on projects outlined before we are crippled because the most important factor is increasing availability of power.
“We cannot stand by and watch ourselves spiral into critical levels that will ultimately affect civil service salaries and services because the industry that produces the revenue of the country is being killed,” he said.
The development follows remarks by Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) business development and marketing manager Wiseman Kabwazi at the company’s high-level stakeholders engagement efficient use of electricity efficiently was key to solving the energy crisis.
Kabwazi also said in order to ensure that industrial companies are adhering to using minimum electricity, they increased surcharges from 10 percent to 30 percent as the former was not hitting the industries enough.
“Escom is currently saving 4 megawatts (MW) from power factor surcharge but we know we could save five more MW if the industries complied to using motors and machinery that are efficient,” he added.
The shortfall in power supply which is currently at 90 MW has among other reasons been attributed to the continued decrease in water levels in lake Malawi in recent years which Escom said will get worse in the next five years unless Malawi receives normal to above normal rainfall.
Apart from surcharges, Escom also encouraged water pumping, irrigation and the industrial processing industries to shift production to off peak hours which is 9pm to 5am as there is some spare capacity during the time.