Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) says the reduced power outages during the festive season was good news to the business community.
According to Electricity Corporation of Malawi (Escom) the reduced power outages were a result of scaling down of businesses and a slight rise in water levels in Shire River, which boosted electricity generation.
In a response to an emailed questionnaire on Thursday, MCCCI president Newton Kambala said during the festive season, the service sector business productivity slightly improved as a result of consistent power.
He said that in times of frequent and prolonged electricity blackouts, companies lose a lot of money by lost time or investing in generators.
In November, Escom issued a statement stating that the country’s generation capacity will fall to 211.04 megawatts (MW) against a forecast maximum demand of 278MW due to low water levels in Shire River.
But on Thursday, Escom Public Relations Officer George Mituka said there has been a slight improvement in water levels in Shire River due to onset of rains.
He said: “The positive change in power supply has, though on a small scale been due to the slight increase in water flow in the Shire River with the rivers’ tributaries bringing in some water from the rains.
He, however, emphasised that the current consistent power supply was mainly on the impact of shutting down of a lot of industries due to the festive season.
“[The shutdown] has freed up some energy resulting in reduced load shedding,” said Mituka.
Escom said at the beginning of the month of December, the water flow was at 130 cubic metres per second (cumecs), but rose to 154 cumecs as at December 19 and before eventually dropping again to 134.75 cumecs.
“The average capacity on December 30 was at 180MW as compared to the total installed capacity of 351MW when the situation is normal,” Mituka said.
But he said that “Malawians should expect the situation to improve if the country, especially the northern part of the country including Tanzania, experience adequate rainfall to fill up Lake Malawi.
“For one thing, Escom will make use of its dredgers to remove silt from the intake ponds to restore the ponds’ capacity for storing water for generation,” Mituka said. n