Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) chief executive officer Collins Magalasi has apologised for his purported remarks that Parliament was wrong in recommending that Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) should manage Aggreko diesel-powered generators.
In a story published in The Nation yesterday, he was quoted as having said that the proposal was technically and practically not doable. However, the story quoted the Cabinet Committee on Energy as having welcomed the idea but observed that Egenco lacks the capacity to undertake the task.
During a meeting with the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change yesterday, Magalasi said he had no intention of belittling Parliament. He claimed his position was misrepresented.
He said: “I apologise if I have appeared to have overruled the position of Parliament. It is regrettable. I answered an impromptu question from a reporter, I wish I asked to be given a written questionnaire, but it was an impromptu question after a tour in Wovwe, so I apologise.
“You know how the media behaves… I am not happy with it and I apologise to the committee.”
Magalasi offered the apology after committee members expressed their anger with the remarks; hence, summoning him to the meeting yesterday.
Committee chairperson Werani Chilenga questioned the integrity of Magalasi, saying he seemed not to respect the House which made the recommendation after consulting stakeholders.
He said: “We are sad that we make a recommendation and we see in the media that you have snubbed Parliament. Why was it so?”
On Tuesday, Chilenga said Aggreko is charging more for services that Egenco can provide at a lower cost if it were to use the same equipment.
Speaking after touring Wovwe Hydro Power Station in Karonga on Wednesday, Cabinet Committee on Energy chairperson BintonyKutsaira, who is also Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, supported Chilenga’s idea but said it cannot be implemented immediately.
The parliamentary committee made the resolution on Tuesday after meeting officials from Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Egenco and Escom over persistent blackouts the country is facing.
Chilenga argued that Aggreko is charging Escom K675 million per month in power purchase deals. The amount translates to a payout of over K7 billion per annum.