Blame game over power outages


Amid the unpredictable power scenario, the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) and the Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) continue to engage in a blame game over the prolonged power outage the country experienced during the weekend.

The country witnessed an unprecedented three days of electricity shutdown over the weekend out of planned load shedding schedules, which saw Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola embarking on a ‘high voltage’ fact-finding mission yesterday, having been prompted by President Lazarus Chakwera.

The two institutions had earlier announced plans to institute a joint investigation to establish the cause of the systems shutdowns.


The Minister Monday morning engaged officials from the institutions, first with Egenco before meeting senior officials from Escom at their respective head offices in Blantyre.

“I am here on instructions from the President and my mission is not to point fingers but find a lasting solution to the problem. I will not divulge the details of what I have gathered in these meetings until we have another meeting with both Egenco and Escom but also I must brief the president on my findings,” Matola said.

During the minister’s meeting with Egenco, officials from the institution declined to speak to the media until the minister had finished his fact-finding mission.


But an inside source, who did not want to be named, said the problem was on a transmission line, which is Escom’s jurisdiction.

“There was a fault and we have a system which, when it detects a fault, issues a report. When we got the report we notified Escom but more importantly, Escom also has a system that monitors the flow of electricity in the whole country, they must have seen a report of the fault but were negligent in acting and that forced the machines to shut down,” the source said.

Escom Board Chairperson Fredrick Changaya said they were not aware of any negligence but that the issue has been sensationalised.

“The mission by the minister will review the actual root cause but you must know that a lot of people make a lot of comments because electricity is a sensitive product. The only problem is that people only see us as Escom but there are other problems that are from a generation point and that is Egenco so this mission will establish what really happened,” Changaya said.

The country continues to be riddled with acute power shortages which have seen industries reducing their production capacity and workforce and domestic users subjected to over 8 hours of blackout.

According to Malawi energy sector overview by Power Africa, which is available on Usaid website, the country has the capacity to generate 439 Megawatts (MW), with a huge chunk of it coming from Hydroelectric power and the other bit from solar energy.

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