As the country continues to reel from the persistent power shortages, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has announced it is exploring alternative power supply sources from neighbouring Mozambique and looking out for more Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to improve the current power supply.
Escom chief executive officer Allexon Chiwaya said in an interview with Business News the company plans to engage various alternative power supply sources to ease the power cuts.
“As Escom we would like to buy power from as many sources as possible, thanks to the reforms in the power sector which now enable us to do so. We are now free to buy from solar, wind, coal, biomas and geothermal sources.
“We are currently talking to many potential IPPs so that we can have more power. Soon we will also be tapping more power from Mozambique which will be steady base power to complement the current power supply. We have been in talks with them and a year from now we should have this power source operational,” he said.
Over the years, Escom has been rationing power due to reduced generation capacity from the potential demand of 351 MW to the current levels.
The country is currently facing acute power supply challenges with hydro-electric generation capacity reduced to below 216 MW which is anchored by diesel-powered generators installed in the country’s three cities.
Speaking earlier with Business News Ministry of Energy, Mining and Natural Resources public relations officer Saidi Banda said exploring alternative power supply sources and getting power from neighbouring countries is among government strategies put in place in addition to developing new power plants to improve the power situation in the country.
He said the importation of power and provision of more power supply from various sources will provide Escom power that will be available for 24 hours a day.
“More power sources mean less load shedding to customers. We are thus hopeful that having more power supply sources will provide the much-needed power in the country thereby reducing load shedding in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Escom is also banking on the 20 MW power import agreement which was put to pen between the parastatal and Zambian State-owned electricity utility Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco) for an improved power supply.
According to Chiwaya, the company has finalised the project and should everything go according to plan, the country shall have the 20 MW added to the grid before November end.
To avert the problem, the parastatal has also signed three Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with two IPPs to produce an additional 86MW that would be added to the national grid by mid next year.
The agreements are between Canadian based JCM Matswani Solar Limited which will produce 60 MW and 20 MW of solar power in Nanjoka in Salima and Golomoti in Dedza, respectively, and Mulanje Hydro Limited which will produce 8MW of hydro power in Mulanje.