Phombeya MCA project impresses parliamentarians

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Corporations and Government Enterprises has expressed excitement with progress of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Phombeya electricity sub-station project in Balaka.

Lilian Patel made the sentiments yesterday when she and her 30- plus member committee toured the project site to appreciate works going on.

Narasimhan (back to camera) briefs the MPs during the tour

Briefing the media after touring the site, Patel did not hide her excitement over the project, which is now 45 percent through.

She said as one of the people who were there when the $34 million (about 25 billion) was born, it pleased her to see that there is remarkable progress on the ground.

“This will be a landmark project in Malawi’s energy history come November [2017] when Phase One is completed. This is an eye-opener to us members of Parliament,” said Patel.

She hailed the project contractors Larsen & Toubro Limited of India for offering employment to scores of locals who are working with 13 foreign engineers on site.

In his brief presentation to the parliamentarians, senior project manager of the company doing the project, Ramkumar Narasimhan, dubbed the project one of the biggest power stations in Malawi, which will end energy woes in the country.

“Currently, power lines from Nkula transmit 132KV of electricity to all parts of Malawi.

When Phombeya sub-station is completed, the 132 KV will be directed here first. Then the transformers here will step up the 132KV to 400KV and transmit that to Nkhoma in Lilongwe.

From Nkhoma, the 400KV will be stepped down to 132KV again and power will be transmitted to parts of the Central and Northern regions,” said Narasimhan.

Director of systems and market operations at Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), Jeford Banda, told the parliamentarians that with this project, Escom will be able to supply power, not only to Malawi, but also to some neighbouring countries.

He also said a feasibility study was already completed “We will also be able to sell power to our neighbours such as Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. In fact, the power to Mozambique will be transmitted along the railway line under rehabilitation by Central East African Railways (Cear).”

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