Electricity consumers in the Malawi will continue to experience persistent power blackouts during the festive period, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has said.
Escom says despite most industries and businesses shutting down during the Christmas and New Year festive season, thereby providing the utility provider relief to supply domestic customers, there are other factors that will affect its capacity.
In an e-mailed response to a questionnaire yesterday, Escom public relations officer George Mituka said customers should not expect anything out of the ordinary.
“Ordinarily, most industries and businesses shut down during this period. This in turn gives us relief and we are able to supply the domestic customers. However, this year we have tobacco processing still going on and the tea season is almost at a peak.
“These industries will need more power. Besides this, there are still no rains in the Lower Shire which means our industrial customers in the Lower Shire will still need power for irrigation. These factors will, therefore, result in constrained capacity,” he said.
Commenting on whether the current rains have made any notable change to the water levels in Lake Malawi and Shire River, the major sources for hydro-electric power in the country, Mituka said the impact of the rains will be noted when the dry tributaries downstream of Liwonde start flowing.
He said: “There are no flows yet in the critical tributaries flowing downstream of Liwonde, except when the rains are actually falling. Even for the rains to start having an impact in the lake level, it will require sustained outpours for a significant period.”
Mituka further said it will take a long time to register a significant rise in the Lake Malawi level.
He urged the public not to expect a week’s rainfall to change the situation, saying Shire River flow has worsened since December is usually the lowest in the lake level. The required Shire River flow is 260 cubic metres per second (cumecs).
Escom told Malawians in September this year to brace for extended hours of load shedding as it has no immediate solutions to the power outages which it attributed to lower water levels in Lake Malawi and Shire River.
Meanwhile, the 2016/2017 rainfall season forecast released by the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological in September this year said there is a higher probability for above normal rainfall amounts compared to previous years, which usually leads to floods.
The forecast said between October and December, the northern half of Malawi will have 40 percent chances for normal rainfall and 25 percent chances for above normal rainfall amounts.
Energy conserving tips during festive period
- Use energy efficient appliances
- Switch off high energy consuming equipments such as geysers, heaters and air conditioners when not in use
- Employees should switch off office equipment when knocking off
- Tips to avoid electrical accidents during festive season
- l As the festivities will be celebrated during the rainy season, the public should look out for electricity wires that are either hanging low or are broken
- If there are such scenarios, people should avoid coming close to such wires
- All electrical accidents and faults, whether real or perceived, should be reported to the nearest Escom office, police station or community leaders
Customers should remember to switch off non-critical appliances when leaving homes for extended periods