In a bid to increase access to electricity among the rural and low-income households in the country, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has commissioned a K350 million ($500 000) Accelerated Electrification Access (Ndawala) Project.
The sole power supplier will then be deducting 20 percent from the electricity units that the beneficiaries will be buying until the K75 000 is recovered within five years.
Speaking at the launch of the Ndawala Project in Ntcheu on Wednesday, Minister of Energy, Natural Resources and Mining Bright Msaka said the project will help to boost electricity penetration as well as increase business activities, which have been affected by lack of electricity.
He said: “The objective is to ensure that electricity reaches all corners of the country. We have various strategies for that purpose such as the Malawi Rural Electrification Project (Marep).
“Today, we have seen Escom doing work unusual because it has always been us applying for power and waiting for a very long time to get connected, which is a different case with this project.”
Msaka disclosed that currently, only four constituencies have no access to electricity—Phalombe South, Ntcheu North East, another one in Ntchisi and Mzimba.
He said the government is working with countries such as China, United States of America and Britain to increase power generation capacity and subsequently increase electricity penetration.
Malawi’s electricity penetration stands at 10 percent with rural electricity access standing at a paltry two percent.
Through the project, Escom will be using its own resources to court beneficiaries in the rural areas and some townships, where they will be sensitised on the project and have interested individuals connected.
Experts say rural electrification has the potential to create opportunities for small businesses.
While acknowledging the challenges the corporation is facing in power generation, Escom board chairperson Jean Mathanga said they will capitalise on the demand which is not utilised at times to ensure consistent supply of electricity to these some areas.
She said the corporation has since connected 100 households and some schools in Ntcheu as part of the Ndawala Project. n