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Brace for more blackouts—government

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Gospel Kazako

Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola has said Malawians should expect blackouts to persist because the gap left by the loss of the Kapichira power station is big.

Matola said that the generators that are currently ran by Aggreko cannot fill the power gap.

Matola said this during a press conference in Lilongwe where he gave an update on the electricity situation in Malawi.

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“The country has lost 50 percent of power. Escom needs K18 billion to have enough back-up power.

“However, we will commission more generators in April as we are continuing to look for solutions to the power challenges,” Matola said.

He said the capacity of the Aggreko generators is now at 78MW, with gen-sets installed in Blantyre giving 35MW, in Lilongwe 20MW and Kasungu 23MW.

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Matola also said Egenco’s diesel generators are in use to try to close the supply gap.

He said repairing transmission equipment that has been damaged by the Tropical Cyclone Ana require K5 billion and another K5.9 billion will be required to replace the damaged towers, especially in Nsanje District.

Minister of Information and Digitisation Gospel Kazako said at the briefing that the current level of load shedding is at six hours per day per group on a rotational basis.

Mota Engil offered itself to help bring back the Kapichira power station and the government said it was waiting for an official communication on the same.

The tropical depression that formed to the northeast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean around January 21 and swept into the Mozambique Channel caused heavy and incessant rainfall in Malawi on January 24 and 25, resulting in heavy flooding and destruction.

A situation report by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs covering the period between 24 January and 2 February 2022 says about 870,000 people have been affected; 37 people have been killed and 20 are missing.

As the floods raged on the night of 24 and 25 January, the nation was plunged in a blackout for almost 12 hours following the shut down of the power stations on the Shire River by Egenco to prevent damage to the machines.

Over 90 percent of Malawi’s total installed capacity of 360 MW comes from the power stations on the Shire River.

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