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Escom shifts 5-day planned power shutdown to 2017

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Electricity consumers in Malawi can temporarily breathe a sigh of relief as the five-day electricity shut-down, which was scheduled for January 2016 to allow repairs works at Nkula A and B power stations, has been shifted to 2017.

The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) and the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) disclosed this through a joint statement issued on Monday.

“MCA in partnership with Escom is informing its stakeholders and the general public that planned works on the rehabilitation of Nkula A will commence in February 2017 and not in January 2016 as previously communicated,” reads part of the statement.

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The statement stated that Nkula A and B hydro power plants will be switched off for five days in June 2017 to allow the contractor to finalise preparations for works at the intake, resulting in a 124 Mega Watt reduction in generation capacity.

It said 100 MW from Nkula B power plant will be put on to the grid after the five days while works continue on Nkula A power plant resulting in a capacity deficit of 24 MW as works at Nkula A progress.

That the contractor, Andritz Hydro of Austria jointly with Mota Engil – reads the statement, has scheduled to undertake design work and manufacturing of equipment between October 2015 and February 2017.

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Meanwhile, Escom says it has put measures to minimise any potential impact the shutdown will have.

Some of the interventions include procurement of diesel generators which will add 16 MW to the national grid.

Escom will also procure Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs and will also tap power through cross-border connections at distribution level from Mozambique and Zambia to add 16MW to the national grid.

The two institutions have since promised to continue updating stakeholders, through various foras, on the progress being made on the project.

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