Escom warns of more blackouts

The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has warned its customers throughout the country that they will continue to experience frequent and prolonged load shedding “within the foreseeable future” due to insufficient generation capacity.
Escom said in a statement today that in addition to the already existing insufficient electricity generation and transmission capacities, the situation has been compounded by reduced water levels in Lake Malawi and the Shire River, which are the major sources of water for hydro power electricity generation in the country.
Escom says the current water flow in the Shire as measured at Liwonde Barrage is 214 cubic meters per second (cumecs), against the total  required discharge of 261 cumecs at Nkula, 274 cumecs at Tedzani and 268 cumecs at Kapichira Hydro Power Stations if all machines are running at full capacities.
Projections, says Escom, are that the trend will continue to worsen to the end of the dry season at the onset of rains later in the year.
“In the current scenario, if these power stations are to run at full capacity, it will mean fast depletion of water storage pond levels, a situation that is not desirable for sustained operations,” reads the Escom statement, in part.
It says the situation is a result of low rainfall in the past season which is attributed to climate change.
“This is a reality that is not reversible at the moment and is likely to worsen in the next four to five months,” says Escom in the statement.
The corporation is, however, assuring customers that it is undertaking mitigation measures at its disposal to ensure that the impact on customers is minimized.
It urges customers to conserve energy usage at all times by, among other measures, switching off geysers, electric heaters and pool pumps from 5pm to 9pm every day; and switching off unnecessary appliances and lighting.
Customers should are also advised to switch off any apparatus, lights in rooms and air-conditioners before living their homes, offices and other work areas.
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