Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have decried the extended load shedding from six hours to at least nine hours, saying the new Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) arrangement is negatively impacting their businesses.
In an interview yesterday, SMEs Chamber executive secretary James Chiutsi said there was need of more players in the power generation sector to feed the national grid.
He said the extended load shedding was also negatively affecting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Said Chiutsi: “Basically, all SMEs are affected because business is actually a chain. But those in manufacturing and service businesses that need electricity are hard hit. We have several members who are in agro-value addition businesses whose production levels have been cut to less than 50 percent.”
When asked on the extension of the load shedding hours yesterday, Escom public relations manager Innocent Chitosi referred The Nation to an earlier news conference where Escom chief executive officer (CEO) Allexon Chiwaya said the parastatal was rationing power from six hours to between nine and 10 hours.
The Escom CEO said its supplier, Electricity Generation Company (Egenco), was producing 177megawatts (MW) through its hydro source and 38.4MW from diesel generators which run for six hours a day. The country’s electricity demand stands at 351MW.
The country has been experiencing prolonged power outages since 2016 when electricity users were being subjected to up to 23 hours of load shedding per day.
Random checks at the weekend showed that most electricity consumers were exposed to more than the stated nine hours of load shedding in a day. n