There is a glimmer of hope as the Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) through the Ministry of Finance has secured $60 million (about K61 billion) funding from the World Bank for the rehabilitation of Kapichira Dam in Chikwawa.
Following the development, Egenco, which said it has already embarked on processes on the project, estimates to complete the works within three to six months.
Kapichira Dam, which suffered damage from Tropical Storm Ana induced floods on January 24 this year, contributes about 129 megawatts to the national grid.
Egenco spokesperson Moses Gwaza said the company plans to use K18 billion in the first phase which involves constructing temporary cofferdam around the mouth of the damaged fuse plug and redirecting water to the intake to resume power generation.
He said: “The second phase will involve reconstructing the dam structure with an improved design that will be resilient to the frequent floods the country is experiencing as a result of climate change and catchment area degradation.
“This will be done after redesigning the dam works that will be done after resumption of power generation.”
Gwaza said rehabilitation works will start immediately after the procurement of a consultant and contractor is finalised.
He said: “We are aware of the impact the outage of Kapichira has on people’s livelihoods and the economy in general.
“Despite delays in identifying funding for the works, we remain hopeful and focused that we shall bring back the station and resume power generation,” he said.
In an earlier interview, Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito called on authorities to fix Kapichira Power Station.
He said prolonged blackouts have a huge bearing on the country’s economy as industries and small-scale businesses cannot operate without electricity.
“These prolonged blackouts are subjecting consumers to a lot of pain. With all these economic challenges the country is going through, we need industries to thrive,” said Kapito.
Recently, Bankers Association of Malawi chief executive officer Lyness Nkungula said customers’ access to cash is being hampered by network issues and electricity outages lead to extra costs for the banks because they often rely on alternative sources of energy.