The Millennium Challenge Account–Malawi (MCA-Malawi) says the contractor in the rehabilitation works at Nkula A Hydro Electric-Power Plant will not switch off Nkula B next week as earlier planned, saving consumers from a five-day power rationing.
The load shedding was expected to start on June 23 to allow the contractor to finalise preparations for works at the intake pond, currently being shared by both Nkula A and B stations.
What this means is that consumers will have an additional 100 megawatts (MW) which should lessen the impact of load-shedding in the country. Nkula A produces 24MW.
MCA-Malawi infrastructure development engineer Jeddie Luka said this on Friday at Nkula during a media tour on the power station rehabilitation works which commenced in April.
He said the contractor is working on a coffer dam which, when completed, will allow water to be drained from Nkula A without affecting operations at Nkula B.
“In the past, we said this will affect Nkula B but now, Nkula B will not be shut down as works will be underway at Nkula A. The contractor is working on a coffer dam and is doing a sheet pile to reduce slippage into the panel.
“The civil works are there to strengthen the infrastructure as this was contracted in 1966. We need to have a strong structure which can withstand different kindS of forces and be able to generate water. We are also replacing the machines used to remove trash,” he said.
Luka said that after rehabilitation, Nkula A should be able to double its output by 50 percent from 24MW to 36MW as the machinery at the power station had been standing for a long time, hence needed the change.
Luka was optimistic that the rehabilitation works will be completed by April next year before the compact comes to an end in September 2017.
Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) with funding from the MCC through MCA-Malawi, is rehabilitating, upgrading and modernising Nkula A hydropower plant (HPP). The objective is to maximise power output of the hydro-electric power plant from the current 24MW to 36MW.
This is part of the infrastructure development component of the United States funded $350.7 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) energy compact.
The contract was awarded to Andritz Hydro of Austria in a joint venture with Mota Engil of Portugal on September 29 2015 to the tune of $45 million.
Project supervisor for Andritz Hydro, Jose Moreira, said the project is progressing well and was upbeat it will be completed within the timeframe. n