Power generation capacity has improved with the current rainfall patterns which have contributed to reduction of power blackouts, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has said.
In a written response to a questionnaire on Monday, Escom public relations officer George Mituka said tributaries are now supplying Shire River with water which has enabled the corporation to reduce the blackouts.
He said Escom generation capacity has in the past months been fluctuating between 153 megawatts (MW) and 230MW due to pond levels. The corporation, however, expects this to improve to between 200MW and 280MW soon.
Mituka said rainfall patterns have had a huge impact on the amount of water that flow into Shire River.
The Shire gets some of its water from different tributaries that flow into it. But over the years, the amount of water flowing into the river has been inadequate, incapacitating the corporation to generate adequate power for households and industries.
“Any change to the generation capacity is as a result of run-off water from the tributaries into the Shire downstream, especially at Kamuzu Barrage. But water from the tributaries has been inconsistent and erratic as it largely depends on the rainfall frequency and intensity.
“When the rains are not falling, the supply of water from the tributaries is reduced, resulting in reduced generation capacity. We are, therefore, not promising our customers any changes in the power situation. But with more rains, we hope the situation will improve,” he said.
Commenting on Escom Ltd Facebook page on Monday, some customers expressed satisfaction with the current generation capacity.
“Kawale has improved tremendously. At least, if power goes, we are assured it won’t exceed five hours. Power every night! Keep it up Escom,” commented Princess Cynthia Zulu.
Another customer Yung Jay said: “Congrats, kuno timaona ngati mukadali kutchuthi because chisiyileni December kuzima, komabe sitingakusekelereni till idzafike zero percent (Congrats, we thought you are still enjoying your holidays because we have never had blackouts since December, but we are still not happy until you reach a zero percent offloading rate)”.
Last year, Escom told Malawians to brace for extended hours of load shedding as it had no immediate solutions to power outages.
It attributed the problem to challenges of water levels in Lake Malawi and Shire River where 90 percent of the country’s power is generated.
Meanwhile, Escom is appealing to its customers to conserve electricity at all times where necessary through the use of energy efficient appliances, by switching off appliances, lights, air conditioners and other electricity gadgets when leaving homes and offices.
Escom has also embarked on a number of projects to mitigate the effects of load shedding, including the LED Project where it is installing LED bulbs. This is expected to save up to 30MW from the system. n