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Kapichira fixing delay bothers committee

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Werani Chilenga

By Wezzie Gausi:

Rehabilitation of the 129 megawatts Kapichira Hydro Power Plant is yet to commence, about six months after it got damaged in January.

Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change Chairperson Werani Chilenga has since described the situation as retrogressive.

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“The country is facing 10- hour blackouts every day. People’s businesses have been shuttered.

“As things stand, the country cannot attract investors since our energy sector is failing us. We are saddened by these delays,”Chilenga said.

Energy Generation Company (Egenco) Chief Executive Officer William Liabunya said the rehabilitation of the plant will be in two phases.

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He said phase 1 will involve temporarily reconstructing of cofferdam around the of the damaged fuse plug and redirect water to the intake to resume power generation.

“The designers of the cofferdam and contractor for the same have been identified. To cut on time, Egenco has agreed with the funders, World Bank, once designs are complete, the construction work are expected to last 55days,” Liabunya said.“Egenco is fully aware of the impact that the outage of Kapichira has had on Malawians and the economy in general and is doing everything possible to mitigate the impact through timely response to requirements of the available machines in the system including running available diesel generation units,” Liabunya said.

Recently, Liabunya told the Natural Resources Committee of parliament that it would take over six months to bring back the Kapichira plant.

The nation also lost 75 megawatts after the government terminated the contract with Aggreko Energy Company.

The 2019 audit report noted that power which Escom buys from Aggreko was too expensive as it is pegged at an average of K216 per kilowatt per hour (Kwh) compared with Egenco’s hydro generated power, which costs K31.8 per Kwh.

The audit also noted that the purchasing cost of Aggreko’s power, at K216 per Kwh, is even more expensive than Escom’s electricity selling price of K92.78 per Kwh as at June 30 2019.

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