Egenco sees light at the end of tunnel

Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) Malawi Limited has forecast a brighter future for power sector in the medium to the long-term, thanks to the Power Sector Reform Project (PSRP).

The project is being implemented by the Malawi Government with funding from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

Under rehabilitation: Nkula A Power Station

Egenco, a company created following unbundling Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Limited, started its operations in January 2017.

Egenco chief executive officer William Liabunya said they plan to add value to the country’s energy sector as its efforts will be directed towards power generation, ensuring continuous generation of the existing power plants and increasing capacity through development of new plants.

“There is better outlook to the nation in the medium to the long-term from Egenco. We expect that through the unbundling and the PPAs [power purchase agreements] under negotiations, our revenues would improve which would in the process allow Egenco to make good investment in maintenance and invest in other power generation sources,” he said in an interview.

Liabunya’s response was in the context of the MCC’s S$350.7 million (K256 billion) compact reform project to increase power generation.

The PSRP is being implemented jointly by Millennium Challenge Account—Malawi (MCA-Malawi) with Escom, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera), Egenco and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining as implementing partners.

Liabunya said institutional reforms are necessary in the power sector as reformed and strengthened institutions guarantee continued good performance through sustainable business management and growth of the institutions.

He said while efforts are there to improve capacity and the standard of quality of the infrastructure, there is need for consideration by Mera to bring about a cost reflective tariff to allow for proper maintenance of power plants.

“We are in the process of developing our strategic plan but priority is in diversifying our energy sources. Diversifying away from hydro as well as from the Shire River to mitigate against the climatic changes currently being experienced,” he said.

Egenco is also developing diesel peaking plants of 36 megawatts (MW) capacity (20MW in Blantyre and 10MW in Lilongwe and 6MW in Mzuzu) and the plants are expected to be commissioned within the next 10 months.

Apart from the Solar PV, Egenco is also sourcing funds for development of potential hydro-power plants such as Mpatamanga Gorge, Lower Fufu and Kholombidzo Falls.

As part of improving the efficiency in hydro-power generation, MCA-Malawi is rehabilitating, modernising and upgrading Nkula A hydro-power plant and strengthening the infrastructure that allows transmission and distribution of power.

Rehabilitation of the Nkula A hydro-power plant will contribute towards improvement of the availability, reliability and quality of the country’s power supply.

When completed, the refurbishment will increase the plant’s current maximum generation capacity from 24MW to 36MW, adding 12MW to the national grid.

The refurbishment is also expected to enhance the plant’s life for another 30 years.

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