Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Atupele Muluzi has commended Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) on the progress that it has made on the works that are being carried out on the newly commissioned Kapichira Power Station.
During a tour of the power station on Sunday, Muluzi said it was encouraging to note that the works were within schedule and were implemented in a phased manner as earlier agreed.
Escom recently announced it would take two of the machines at Kapichira—machine three and four—off the grid in a phased manner.
The machines which have a combined capacity of 64 megawatts, installed by China Gezhouba Group (CGG), were only commissioned in December last year.
But reacting to the defects, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito was quoted in the media as having blamed Escom for buying faulty machines.
But both Muluzi and Escom, in an interview during the tour, said every engineering job goes through a window period—a defects liability period of 12 months—before the contractor hands over the project to the client.
“The maintenance works were important before the expiry of the defects liability period. We are hopeful that we will have machines that will provide reliable electricity to Malawians,” said Muluzi.
The Energy Minister, however, cautioned Escom on delayed connections, but hoped that that would improve due to the power supplier’s service charter which was launched last week.
According to Escom, they are fixing the shaft seals and installing a firefighting unit in the current maintenance works.
Speaking in an interview after the tour, Kapichira Power Station manager William Liabunya said the maintenance works were important because the contractor was under warranty to ensure that the machines were working properly before handing them over to Escom.
“We noted a number of defects on the machines. This is of course not unusual in every engineering project,” said Liabunya.
He pointed out that they are done with unit three and they are working on unit four which is expected to be back on the grid on October 26.
CGG engineer Li Shujun, commenting on how reliable their machines are, encouraged Escom to ensure that they operate them properly and that they go through the normal maintenance requirements.
Li said they have trained Escom staff in how to operate the machines.