Egenco upbeat on stable power supply

The Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) has assured Malawians of stable power supply in the long-term as the firm has invested in a number of energy generation projects that are nearing completion.

Egenco senior public relations officer Moses Gwaza said this when giving an update on installation of diesel generators at Mapanga in Blantyre.

A Substation at Phombeya in Balaka will be the landing and take-off point for the Mozambique interconnector

He said the project is now in the final stages where the company is doing reliability tests as the generators are currently being run on a test mode before they are fully commissioned.

Egenco will commission the generators by end of August and it is expected that the generators will add 20 megawatts (MW) to the national grid.

Said Gwaza: “The additional 20 MW to the single buyer and market and system operator— Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi-Escom—will enable them to reduce the current load shedding, especially at peak demand period as these diesel engines will be used for peaking purposes,” he said.

Explaining the delay in the project which was supposed to be operational by now, Gwaza said this was due to the fact that there was change in technology in the first place.

According to Egenco spokesperson, the initial plan was to have containerised generators, but engineers realised that these were prone to frequent breakdown as had been experienced in the previous projects.

“It was proving difficult to do maintenance works on the generators as there is little space to carry out maintenance work,” he explained.

Meanwhile, works on the additional 10 MW plant at Lilongwe is also underway which, according to Gwaza, will be commissioned by end of September to further reduce load shedding in the Capital City.

Meanwhile, the Japanese funded Tedzani IV Project has started with contractors Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan and Calik Enerji from Turkey on site and doing civil works.

Currently, Escom is rationing power to between 6 to 24 hours a day for both industrial and household customers due to reduced generation capacity from 351 MW that is locally generated.

The country has been facing acute power supply challenges since 2016 with hydro-electric generation capacity reducing to around 200MW. To partly meet supply demands power supply system is currently anchored by 84 diesel-powered generators that have capacity to produce additional 78MW.

In an earlier interview with Business News, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Aggrey Masi said government along with development partners are and will continuously work to improve electricity supply in the country.

“We have shortage of power at the moment and we have not developed more [electricity generation plants]. However, we are working with various stakeholders to improve power supply with several projects that we are currently undertaking in the energy sector,” he said.

Malawi is also pushing for the interconnection project to enable Escom to tap power from the power pool in the Sadc region and neighbouring Mozambique.

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