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Escom needs $230 million to tap electricity

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The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has said it is looking for over $230 million to connect and tap electricity from neighboring Tanzania and Zambia as a medium-term solution to power challenges facing the country.

Escom Chief Executive Officer Kamkwamba Kumwenda said this during a panel discussion at the 2022 Energy Conference in Mangochi on Tuesday.

He said the immediate solution to persisting power challenges was to produce closer to the current installed capacity of 530 megawatts (mw) and, later on, consider tapping from neighboring countries.

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“We have installed a capacity of 530mw which we are not optimally using. We need to consolidate this and it will be more than enough. So, the immediate solution is Kapichira must come back online, Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) has got generators, make sure they are repaired and operational so that we are close to the 530mw.

“In the medium term, we are looking at interconnections, for example, Mozambique by December next year. They will be online and we are talking to Tanzania and Zambia. Those ones I think by December 2024 should be online,” Kumwenda said.

He, however, lamented lack of funds for such projects, saying it is expensive to borrow and yet the government is not willing to guarantee such financing owing to its debt situation at the moment.

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Renewable Energy Industries Association of Malawi President Sosten Chigalu said the conference had achieved its purpose as stakeholders were able to dissect pertinent issues in the sector.

“The most important thing is that government is acknowledging that there are problems because you cannot find a solution if the one to lead in finding the solutions does not acknowledge the problems. Also, there are numerous ideas that have been put forth which the government has expressed willingness to look into to check problems in the sector,” Chigalu said.

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