Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) requires at least K200 million to restore two wrecked steel towers on the Kapichira-Nchalo transmission line in Chikwawa, which tripped on Monday afternoon.
The damage attributed to vandals, has plunged the entire Nsanje District and parts of Chikwawa into a blackout likely to last up to five days, according to Escom director of transmission Masauko Mula.
The director visited the collapsed towers on Tuesday afternoon.
During the visit, he told journalists that rehabilitation is going to be long and costly due to procurement of imported materials and the recent devaluation of the kwacha.
“We need at least K100 million to replace a single tower. The projected cost doesn’t include the loss of revenue and economic losses caused by this act of vandalism,” he said.
Affected power users in the Shire Valley districts will have to wait longer as Mula said Escom requires four to five days to erect a diversion line using wooden poles to restore power supply.
He said the wooden poles will remain in use until Escom procures accessories to restore the steel towers suspected to have been ransacked by vandals on Monday around 4pm.
“Power tripped around 3.50pm, prompting us to launch emergency patrols on the line from Kasisi to Nchalo, which led us to the affected section at Kasinthula near the newly constructed Chikwawa Teachers College,” said an Escom official who took part in the emergency assessments.
The line seen lying on the ground in Kasinthula-Maseya Mega Farm, opened by President Lazarus Chakwera last month, includes a fibre cable that transmits internet to various providers and consumers from Nchalo to Nsanje.
“The collapse of the transmission has affected hospitals, schools, water supply, sugar production, small businesses, lighting and other services across the Shire Valley,” said Mula.
This is the first time the 39.5 kilometre line has tripped since January 2021 when Cyclone Ana wrecked multiple steel towers in Kasisi, leaving the Shire Valley without power for a while.