Some companies in the Northern Region have decried the 30-hour power failure the region experienced from Sunday, January 17 at around 04:00 hours to Monday, January 18 at 10:00 hours, saying it had heavy implications on their businesses.
In an interview on Monday, Raiply Malawi Limited chief executive officer Thomas Oomen said the company lost about K5 million (about $7 281) as it stopped production for almost 28 hours.
Northern Region Water Board chief executive officer Titus Mtegha said the board lost K17 million (about $24 756) in sales due to the prolonged power outage.
He said the company was not producing water during the outage period as it depends on power supply from Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), hence taps went dry in some areas which do not have storage tanks.
But Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union managing director Harrison Kalua said the prolonged power outage did not have a big impact on the company’s coffee and tea processing as it has a standby generator which ensured that normal processing was maintained.
“We only encountered some extra expenses on fuel for running the generator which is not that much,” he said.
While saying the prolonged power outage in the region was not intentional, Escom public relations manager Kitty Chingota said it was due to a fault at Bua in Nkhotakota.
She said the sole power supplier had a planned maintenance on Nkhata Bay-Chintheche line from 04:30 hours on Sunday to 14:30 hours of the same day.
“After finishing the works, our engineers failed to connect the region back to power as the switch kept tripping. Our distance relay system then showed that there was a fault on the line just after Bua going towards Dwangwa in Nkhotakota which affected the region,” said Chingota.
To minimise the problem, she said Escom will buy a specific fault locator equipment as the present one just locates the distance where the fault might have occurred.
In recent times, Escom has been load shedding for at least 10 hours in most parts of the country due to what the parastatal says is lower water levels in Shire River, where it taps its water for hydro power generation, due to dry spell that hit the country recently. n