Light at the end of February

GWAZA— We are
working day and night

By Isaac Salima:

Malawians are expected to heave a sigh of relief after Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) has announced that part of rehabilitation works at Kapichira Power Station will be completed by this month end.

The power generating station has been under reconstruction after Tropical Storm Ana-induced rains completely destroyed it, taking away about 130 megawatts from the national grid.


Egenco spokesperson Moses Gwaza said, in an interview on Saturday, that the company’s earlier announcement in December last year— that partial restoration of the station will be completed by February— still holds.

“We have started testing our turbines and, by this month end, we should be able to start partial generation of 50 percent of power,” Gwaza said.

He further said continued rainfall has been a challenge facing rehabilitation works.


“Because of the rains, we have had to stop working and continue afterwards. We are working day and night to ensure we catch up on lost time. We have started the commission phase, which includes testing systems of the machines and civil structures,” Gwaza said.

Gwaza was earlier quoted as saying the company would use about K18 billion in the first phase of the restoration of Kapichira.

“The first phase will involve constructing temporary cofferdam around the mouth of the damaged fuse plug and redirecting water to the intake to resume power generation,” he said.

Gwaza said the second phase will involve reconstructing the dam structure with an improved design that will be resilient to floods the country is experiencing as a result of climate change and catchment area degradation.

A welder in Blantyre’s Chilomoni Township, Aaron Menyanji, while applauding Egenco for the news, urged the company to fast-track the works so that power is restored.

“This is good news to business operators like me, who have been suffering because of persistent blackouts. But we are looking for 100 percent supply of electricity. As such, we want Egenco to fast-track the process,” he said.

Heavy rains that fell between 23 and 24 January last year marked the beginning of trouble as Kapichira was affected.

Egenco then announced that rehabilitation works at the station would take at least eight months.

Speaking at an investment summit at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe last September, President Lazarus Chakwera assured Malawians that electricity would be restored at Kapichira before Christmas.

But when members of Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee of Parliament visited the plant in November last year, they realised that rehabilitation works had just begun.

Egenco said this was a result of change in designs.

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