Escom completes 20MW connection to Zambia

The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has finalised works to import 20 Megawatts (MW) of power from Chipata in Zambia through Mchinji.

The five-year cross-border power supply agreement means that Escom will have more than 220 MW of power from the current 200 MW, however the figures fluctuate due to a number of factors.

Initially, Malawi has an electricity demand of around 350 MW but Escom has not been able to meet the demand due to low water levels in Lake Malawi and the Shire River among other reasons.

In a press statement released on Wednesday and made available to Nation Online, Escom says the project will be ready for commissioning on November 2, 2018.

It further says Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco) is doing final technical touches on their line.

Upon completion of the works on the Zambian side, Escom and Zesco will conduct tests to ensure the readiness of the project.

Commenting on the matter, Escom Public Relations Manager Innocent Chitosi said the 20 MW will ease pressure that the corporation has in terms of power supply.

“The 20 MW will benefit Mchinji, Kasungu and parts of Lilongwe, meaning that there will be additional power available for other areas,” explained Chitosi adding that the five-year agreement is subject to review.

Ministry of Energy, Mining and Natural Resources public relations officer Saidi Banda earlier told The Nation, the additional power to the national grid at a cost of 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) will increase the available electricity capacity.

He anticipated the importation of the 20 MW will enable Escom to have additional power to further reduce load shedding hours.

Malawi has been experiencing extended hours of load shedding with the worst being in 2017 when Malawians were on some occasions subjected to up to 23 hours of load shedding.

Escom has since embarked on a number of reforms to enhance its efficiency.

Government and the corporation are investing in a number of projects within the energy sector between 2018 and 2022 worth about K157 billion to solve the current power shortage.

Aside from the Malawi-Zambia interconnection, Escom also plans to connect to Mozambique.

Last month, the corporation signed three Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with two Independent Power Producers (IPPs) that could add an additional 86 MW to the national grid by December 2019.

 

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