Improved power supply offers businesses relief

Private sector lobby group Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) and some small-scale businesses have hailed the improved and stable supply of electricity in the country describing this as a relief to industry.

The businesses and industry insiders have, however, welcomed the improved power supply with caution, saying the electricity environment in Malawi is still vulnerable to several shocks that could see the country going back to interrupted power supply.

Source of hydro-electric power: Tedzani

Malawians have for the past year or so felt the full impact of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) load-shedding, bearing long hours of power cuts resultantly impacting on their businesses and livelihoods.

The situation pushed firms to spend more than their budgets to run their machines using heavy generators such that at the peak of this crisis, some manufacturing companies disclosed to Business News that electricity has constantly been one of the top obstacles to doing business in Malawi.

But for close to a month now, power supply has considerably improved in the country due to what Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) and Escom have attributed to several interventions and projects in the generation, transmission and distribution of power.

MCCCI chief executive officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira while lauding the present power supply improvement said it, however, remains uncertain if the two electricity utility bodies will sustain the power supply.

“We have seen an improvement in power supply and we are hoping that as we now go into full production, the present supply will be maintained because we are not sure this is not on account of closure of some businesses who are yet to open for business or the present water flow which when reduces we may experience something else,” he said.

Speaking in a separate interview, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito shared sentiments with Kaferapanjira saying consumers are expecting the development to continue in the medium to long term.

“We applaud Escom and Egenco for the improved power supply for this has definitely improved livelihoods and businesses. We would however wish to see Escom and Egenco sustaining this going forward if this is to have meaningful significance on people’s lives,” he said. 

Hamza Seleman, a salonist plying his trade in Blantyre, also confided to Business News that the improved power supply has offered relief to his business but cautioned Escom to sustain the development going forward.

Commenting on the development, Egenco senior public relations officer Moses Gwaza said in an interview the parastatal is working tirelessly with Escom to sustain the current situation.

“The present power supply situation is sustainable and we can assure the public of this.  Previously there were rumours that after Christmas we will go back to long load shedding hours but that has not been the case.  The current challenge that we are facing is the issue of debris and aquatic weed but we are working hard to counter this,” he said. n

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