Residents of Likoma and Chizumulu islands will soon heave a sigh of relief, following installation of four new Perkings Engine generators that will produce 1.760 megawatts (MW), under the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (Marep).
There will be two generators of 560 kilowatts (KW) each on Likoma while Chizumulu, will have two generators of 320 KW each.
The generetors will replace a small genset that produces just 250 KW, a development that is likely to bring huge changes on the two Islands where electricity is heavily rationed and affects delivery of essential services.
In an e-mail response, deputy director of energy affairs, responsible for rural electrification at Likoma, Patrick Silungwe, said government conducted a feasibility study to determine the best combination of energy on the two islands.
He said the study recommended installing generators with an increased capacity as well as solar system to complement diesel generators.
“The combination of the two energy generators will enable people of Likoma to have power all day long. Installation is in progress and it is expected that commissioning will take place before end of this month.
“Installation of solar system will be commissioned in July 2020. However, the gensets will operate in isolation before the solar system is commissioned. The main goal of the project is to reduce costs of electricity and subsequently increase hours of electricity supply on the island from the current 14 hours per day to 24 hours per day,” said Silungwe.
The supplier of the gensets, Clifford Kawinga of Creck Hardware, said apart from supplying the gensets, other works include installation, decommissioning of the old plant, constructing the base of generators as well as panel circuit wiring.
He said they have brought in big generators of 750kva and 450kva, right from the manufacturer in United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sharjah, to Likoma and Chizumulu islands.
Said Kawinga: “Before the generators came in the country, we took six engineers to Sharjah for factory acceptance test to inspect if the generators were being produced according to their specifications, and we also took another team of six engineers for training on how they can use the generators effectively and efficiently.”
In July this year, residents of Likoma took to the streets, protesting the perpetual blackouts. Likoma and Chizumulu islands are cut off from the national electricity grid due to their geographical position.