Government to sustain MCC investments

 

The Malawi Government is ready to nurture and sustain investments in the power sector under the $350.7 million (about K256 billion)  United States Millennium  Challenge Corporation (MCC) energy compact.

Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Principal Secretary Patrick Matanda said this at the new Nkhoma Power Sub-Station on the sidelines of a visit to area by board of trustees of Millennium Challenge Account-Malawi (MCA-Malawi), the local implementing agency of the energy compact.

The sub-station is one of the compact-funded modern infrastructures designed to increase the capacity and stability of the country’s national electricity grid, bolster the power efficiency and prepare for future expansion of the national grid.

An aerial view of new Nkhoma substation

Said Matanda: “Measures have been put in place to sustain these investments and we are glad that both Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) have put in place structures to help sustain these investments.”

Both Escom and Egenco with support from the energy compact, have developed sustainability plans which look into the operation, management and maintenance of the new infrastructure to ensure that the assets benefit Malawians in future.

Under MCA-Malawi’s Infrastructure Development Project (IDP), the 400/132 kilovolt (kV) high voltage overhead transmission lines and sub-stations have been constructed.

This means that Malawi’s power sector will now be able to transmit power at high voltage from the South to Central regions. The newly-constructed 400kV sub-stations at Phombeya in Balaka and Nkhoma in Lilongwe will provide critical facilities to interconnect electricity with neighbouring countries and join the Southern African Power Pool (Sapp).

“In the same way, Malawi will soon be interconnecting with Zambia using the newly-constructed Nkhoma Sub-station. The new 132kV sub-station at Bwengu in Mzimba has been constructed with designs to expand the sub-station in future to have 400kV facilities to connect high voltage line from Nkhoma in Lilongwe to Bwengu.

“The sub-station will also act as a take-off and landing point of electricity once connected with Tanzania under the Sapp arrangement,” said Matanda.

In an earlier interview, United States Ambassador Virginia Palmer said the sustainability of MCC investments will require the continued commitment of the Malawi Government and project partners to achieve power sector reform goals, including an electricity tariff and policy environment that allows the power institutions to cover the cost of producing electricity, expand and maintain the electricity grid and encourage private sector investment in power generation.

The energy compact, which ends on September 20 2018, aims at modernising the power sector and improving reliability and quality of  power supply.

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