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Escom controlling electricity demand

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chingotaThe Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has intensified demand side management initiatives in-order to achieve efficient utilisation of electricity in the country.

With power supply currently at 351 megawatts against a forecast maximum demand of 360 megawatts, Escom says it is depending on demand side management techniques to help reduce energy consumption.

Escom corporate affairs and public relations manager, Kitty Chingota said in an interview that adoption of demand-side management techniques will help balance the rising demand for electricity against the available supply.

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Chingota said, among other things, that the corporation is encouraging industries to shift production from peak to off-peak periods in order to achieve this balance.

She said a special tariff has been introduced as an incentive for the industry to shift their production period as desired by Escom.

“In addition, the industry is being encouraged to install power correction factor equipment in order to improve on energy efficiency of their equipment and thereby conserve energy,” she said.

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While admitting challenges that the corporation is facing in meeting the expectations of its customers, Chingota said interventions such as the demand side initiative will help to improve the quality and reliability of electricity supply going forward.

“Power projects require huge investments and most have long lead time. However, our commitment and government support will see us deliver a service that meets our customers’ expectations,” she said.

The power utility company has been implementing a load-shedding programme after its generation capacity was reduced by almost half following a fall in its generation capacity at its Nkula and Tedzani Hydro power stations went down by close to 50 percent due to low water levels in Lake Malawi and resulting low flows in the Shire River.

Chancellor College economics analyst Ben Kalua says Malawi needs to find lasting solutions to the energy crisis as the sector is critical to the economy and was one of the key areas foreign investors consider before bringing their investment to any country.

Kalua said as Malawi continues to experience unreliable power supply, power users are employing their own capacity to generate power; some of which have repercussions on the importation side of the economy.

“Importation of energy by companies and individuals would lead to wastage of foreign exchange, thereby worsening the economic crisis,” said Kalua.

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