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Escom buying generators to fight blackouts

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The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has announced that it is procuring diesel generators to help during blackouts in the three main cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.

Escom’s Marketing and Business Development Manager Wiseman Kabwazi disclosed this on Tuesday in Mzuzu at a workshop organised by Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) where Mzuzu City councillors were oriented on Escom’s service charter.

“The diesel generators are already within our plans. We are already procuring diesel generators for Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu. For the one in Lilongwe, it should be ready by early next year. And for Mzuzu and Blantyre, by end next year we should have them for peak roles. These will be used on run during peak hours when the demand is high for just a few hours to supplement power that we have,” said Kabwazi in an interview with The Daily Times.

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On blackouts Kabwazi said: “The generators will assist us quite a lot because our peak demand is normally in the evening for just a short period of about three to four hours. So the generators will be run during that period to ensure that people have electricity at home.”

Kabwazi said the generators will not attract further tariffs from consumers because Escom had already discussed with Mera that the base tariffs the two sides already agreed on would cover the use of the diesel.

He said Lilongwe and Blantyre will have 10 megawatts diesel generators each while Mzuzu will have six megawatts. He said installation of the Lilongwe diesels was already in process.

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Kabwazi’s statements were prompted by one councillor who asked why Escom was not improvising generators during blackouts. The councillors further queried Escom why it was supplying power to some border towns in Zambia and Mozambique.

“Even the Bible says to the Jews first then to the gentiles. Why do you supply electricity to towns in other countries when we are hit by blackouts every day?” queried councillor Alexander Mwakikunga of Katawa Ward.

In response, Kabwazi said the towns in question like Lundazi in Zambia were closer to Escom’s power network than their countries’ network. He said the towns were very small and using little power from Escom. Kabwazi said Malawi, as a member of Sadc (Southern Africa Development Community), needed to share with neighbours.

Mera Director of Legal Affairs Stan Chioko said the regulatory body would engage Escom on the matter.

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