Only people who are in the low to medium income bracket and living in high density areas will benefit from the free distribution of Light Emitting Diode (Led) bulbs from the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
A week ago, Escom embarked on a project involving the installation and retailing of 1.2 million Led bulbs with the aim of reducing load shedding.
Led light bulbs are said to last longer and use less energy than other types of lighting. Escom is targeting to save between 25 and 30 megawatts of power through the distribution of the bulbs.
But a statement from Escom indicates that the Corporation is targeting low to medium income consumers in high density areas in the project following findings from a survey that showed the majority of people in the target group use ordinary bulbs and in the process inducing high electricity demand and extensive load shedding.
“Therefore, Escom is replacing all ordinary bulbs with free Led bulbs in the mentioned areas to immediately reduce the levels of load shedding in the country for the benefit of all Escom customers,” the statement said.
Other customers who do not qualify for the free distribution will be required to purchase the Led bulbs at a subsidised price from February 2017.
Escom said the Led bulbs will only be issued in exchange of existing ordinary bulbs and that Compact Fluorescent Lamps bulbs, which are already energy efficient will not be exchanged for Led bulbs.
There is a mismatch between power supply and demand which has been made worse by low water levels in Lake Malawi and subsequent low flows in the Shire River where Escom taps power for hydroelectric power generation.
Escom claims water levels in Lake Malawi have, this year, hit their lowest level in history, making it difficult to generate power.
Meanwhile, in its latest Malawi Business Climate Survey Report, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) listed electricity among the major constraints to doing business in 2016.