Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi’s (Escom) says it has effected a temporary load shedding programme due to inadequate power supply from Electricity Generation Company (Egenco).
In a notice issued yesterday, Escom says the measure has been instituted to balance the system as Egenco has temporarily shutdown Nkula B Hydro Station following a burst pipe on a machine at the station. This, according to the utility body, has been done to prevent flooding at the station and further damage to the machines.
The statement further states that the shutdown of Nkula B Hydro Station will lead to a loss of 100 megawatts (MW), leaving Escom with 275 MW against a forecast demand of 310 MW.
In an interview yesterday, Escom public relations manager Innocent Chitosi confirmed the introduction of the load shedding programme, but could not indicate how long normal supply will resume.
He said: “We are getting less than the usual power from Egenco due to the shutting down of Nkula B. This has left us with no choice but to effect a countrywide load shedding. It will be at peak hours only. Meanwhile, we are still calculating the time it will take and we will duly communicate to the public.”
A statement from Egenco, signed by the company’s senior public relations officer Moses Gwaza, said investigations to establish the cause of the burst pipe and works to repair the bypass pipe are underway.
In a separate interview, Gwaza said an assessment of the extent of damage is in progress. He too could not state how long it would take to fix the problem.
He said Egenco is currently running all diesel-powered generators to minimise the impact of the Nkula B shutdown.
Said Gwaza: “We are working tirelessly to resolve the problem. Hopefully, the problem will be identified soon and putting the station back in operation should not take us to next year.”
Egenco generates much of its power through hydro with 136MW from Nkula Hydro Power Station (A and B), 102MW from Tedzani (I, II and III), Kapichira 129.6MW and Wovwe 4.5MW.