Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) says Electricity Generation Company (Egenco)’s announcement on reduced power generation capacity shows the company’s lack of foresight and proactiveness.
On Monday, Egenco announced that three of its four machines at Kapichira Power Station were not functioning due to an electrical fault, leading to a drop to 97 megawatts (MW) from 129 MW that the plant produces.
This, according to a separate statement from Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has led to increased load shedding nationwide as the power supply company did not have enough electricity to supply its customers.
But Cama executive director John Kapito in an interview yesterday described the development as a serious setback coming against high expectations that consumers have had on the availability of electricity in the country.
He said: “We are told this is due to a technical problem but it shows lack of proactiveness and foresight in the power generation industry. We are not sure what is happening with the announced interconnectors, the newly rehabilitated power plants and the independent power producers (IPPs).”
But according to Egenco’s senior public relations officer Moses Gwaza, engineers for the power generator had resuscitated two of the affected machines, remaining with one which was still being worked on yesterday.
In a joint statement, the two companies said they had resorted to using diesel generators for longer hours to minimise the impact of outages.
Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) executive director Grace Kumchulesi in a telephone interview yesterday said if not addressed quickly, the outages would likely have an impact on the economy.
She said: “From the economic point of view, it is important to know if the current situation is quickly redeemable. Consequences of power outages on the economy are usually huge especially to the manufacturing sector which can result into loss of production, diminished business opportunities for both large and small-scale enterprises.”
During similar outages last year, hospitals were heavily affected as they had to use standby power generators thereby bearing an extra cost of fuel.
But Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said in a telephone interview health facilities have not been affected by the outages this time.
He said: “At the moment, we are not affected because mostly we are fed from direct lines and we have back up power generators.”