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Escom rolls out K5 billion led bulbs project

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Sole power utility provider, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), has rolled out an ambitious K5 billion project that will see it distributing and subsidising led bulbs to save 30 megawatts of power.

The 30 saved megawatts are equivalent to building a new power station which could have taken five years to construct but the bulbs are due to take Escom two months to install.

Such megawatts are enough to light Mzuzu City and Karonga and Zomba districts.

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At the same time, according to Escom officials, Malawians are likely to pay less on electricity bills and procurement of the bulbs as opposed to the current situation.

Escom Regional Manager for the South, David Mbewe, said during the rolling-out exercise launch in Ndirande Township in Blantyre that the bulbs are more effective than the incandescent bulbs which consume a lot of power.

“We have started the project in Ndirande as will be the case with Mtandire in Lilongwe and Mchengautuba in Mzuzu because of huge use of incandescent bulbs.

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“People still use them in most high density areas unlike energy saver bulbs,” Mbewe said.

During the launch, Escom officials targeted households who still use incandescent bulbs by fixing the newly promoted ones while at the same time breaking the discouraged ones.

Mbewe said that Escom intends to distribute 1.2 million free bulbs in the first phase and then start selling at a subsidised rate to Malawians who are connected to the national grid.

He added that they have spent K5,000 on each of the 1.2 million bulbs meant for the launched pilot phase of the programme.

“These bulbs can take more than 10 years before they are replaced, something that means they are cost-effective,” Mbewe said.

Malawi needs between 500 and 1,000 additional megawatts over the next five years to keep up with demand projections. That aside, the US-funded Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCA) is investing $350 million to increase power generation and improve transmission.

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