Coal power plant critical for electricity tariffs—Mera

Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has advised Electricity Generation Company Malawi Limited (Egenco) to speed up the building Kamwamba Coal Plant, saying the delay could affect electricity tariffs in the medium-term.

Mera chief executive officer Collins Magalsi said in an interview on Wednesday at the construction site of Tedzani IV Power Plant after Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining BintonyKutsaira toured Phombeya Power Sub-station in Balaka, Kamwamba in Neno and NkulaA Hydropower Plant.

Egenco official briefs ministers and other officials at Nkula A

“As you may recall, Mera gave Escom a base tariff for the period 2018 to 2022 and we had assumed that apart from existing power sources, we would have independent power producers and that included Kam’mwamba.

“We were of the view that if Kamwamba came online with a 300 megawatts (MW), we were going to feel a reduction in price of electricity because power from coal is much cheaper than that from generators which we are currently using,” he said.

Magalasi said the longer it takes for Kam’mwamba to come online, the less likely electricity tariff would come down.

Kam’mwamba, a project which would be one of the biggest investments in the energy sector, was hatched in 2013 but has not taken off due to  financing challenges.

The 300MW project is expected to increase Malawi’s electricity generation capacity from an average 320MW during peak hours currently.

But Kutsaira said government is pushing to see energy projects such as Kamwamba completed within stated deadlines to end energy challenges in line with government’s plans.

“We want to ensure that we increase the percentage of people being served with electricity from the current 11 percent to about 50 percent by 2025.

“We are committed to seeing Kamwamba take off in due course. We have changed the mode of operation of the project to Egenco as experts in that field,” he said.

Egenco chief executive officer William Liabunya said the entity has synchronised the project with the consultant they engaged mid this year and is moving in the right direction.

“Having seen the project, the consultant will now be reviewing the feasibility study that was done before and updating it to ensure that it is economically viable before we take off,” he said.

Without stating the actual commencement date of the project, Liabunya said the company is course with the projectr.

Projects such as these are expected to fit into the national power grid because of power infrastructure built under the $350.7 million (about K257 billion) energy compact from the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

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