Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola says the off-grid micro-hydro electricity generated by Mulanje Electricity Generating Agency (Mega) Limited is complementing government’s rural electrification programme.
Mega Limited located in Traditional Authority Mabuka in Mulanje is producing 220 kilowatts of hydro power using Lichenya River.
The electricity is being distributed to Bondo and Kalamwa villages at K105 per kilowatt hour for business and K80 per kilowatt hour for domestic use.
Speaking on Wednesday when he visited Mega Limited, Matola said government is intensifying national rural electrification by encouraging production of electricity through mini-grids to supplement on grid supply by Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi.
He said: “What happened this year due to Tropical Storm Ana which destroyed Kapichira Hydro Power Station is a lesson to the nation that relying on one river for all power plants does not help but we need to also have mini-grids.
“Marep on its own cannot reach here [T/A Mabuka] because the transmission line is far from the main road, so for communities to access electricity will take time. However, when we have such natural resources and utilise them and have mini-grids that is when we can reach the targeted population.”
Matola pledged the ministry’s support to enable it to reach more people.
Mega Limited operations manager Samuel Mambo said they are failing to expand due to financial constraints.
He said: “We have discussed with the minister a number of areas, including how government can support us.
“We have capacity to reach 3 000 people, but we are only supplying electricity to 1 600 customers because of lack of finance. For example, we cannot afford to buy meters.”
Mambo said they have thus far connected electricity to 11 primary schools, including two secondary schools, teachers’ houses, Bondo Health Centre and 11 maize mills.
One of the beneficiaries, Emmanuel Sulupi, said the coming in of the electricity has changed their lives.
“Before the coming in of electricity, we were living in poverty as we were just relying on charcoal burning to get resources, but with electricity, we are able to conserve our environment as well as operate businesses,” he said.