Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has said rainfall amounts which the country has received recently are inadequate to bring any major improvement to electricity generation.
In a published statement, Escom says it is currently producing an average of 150 megawatts (MW) of power against installed capacity of 351.7MW and that the impact of the rains on Lake Malawi and Shire River was insignificant.
Reads in part a statement released on Saturday: “According to the Water Department, the normal water levels in Lake Malawi are supposed to be above 474.00 metres above sea level (asl). Within the past years, the levels have dropped to as low as 372.97 metres asl.
“With the recent rainfalls, the lake level has improved by only a meagre 20 millimetres. This has not been sufficient to improve the Shire River water flows to a state where Escom can adequately generate electricity.”
The statement further says normal water flows required in Shire River to generate electricity to maximum capacity is 264 cubic metres per second (Cumecs), but despite the rainfall being experienced, the average water flows in Shire River have remained around 115 Cumecs, translating to less than 50 percent of the required water flows.
The statement says the main tributaries, namely Rivirivi, Lirangwe and Nkulumadzi rivers have on a few occasions contributed to improved generation because parts of the Southern Region experienced continuous rainfall.
However, the power supplier indicates water supply from its tributaries is inconsistent and erratic as it depends on the rainfall.
Last year, Escom told Malawians to brace for extended hours of load shedding as it had no immediate solutions to the power outages.
It attributed the problem to challenges of water levels in Lake Malawi and Shire River, the major source of 90 percent of hydropower generation in the country.
A 2016/17 rainfall season forecast released by the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services last year, indicated a higher probability for above normal rainfall amounts compared to previous years, which usually leads to floods. n