Completion of the Malawi– Mozambique power interconnection project is expected to delay by about nine months, a development Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has attributed to the Covid pandemic.
This was revealed at a press briefing yesterday, when Escom officials gave an update on the project.
Once completed, the interconnector is projected to add about 50 megawatts to the national power grid.
Escom Senior Projects Manager Alexander Kaitane said the Covid pandemic made it difficult for teams between Mozambique and Malawi to meet and discuss progress of the project.
Kaitane was, however, optimistic that the revised deadline would be met as entities from the two countries have devised ways of proceeding with the work amid effects of the pandemic.
“We are also pressing on our contractors and consultants to make sure that, wherever possible, they should maximise utilisation of the local workforce to reduce their presence into the country,” he said.
The project is worth $35 million and is being funded by the World Bank, European Union and the Government of Malawi through Escom.
Once completed, it is expected to transfer to Malawi 50 megawatts from Matambo Substation in Mozambique to Phombeya Substation and have a capacity to transfer more from other countries connected to Mozambique.
Escom says, currently, they have awarded key contracts for construction of the transmission line and for the substation at Matambo to contractors who have moved into the design phase.
Energy expert from Mzuzu University Maxon Chitawo commended the two countries for the project, rating it as the right path towards addressing energy problems in the country.
Chitawo, however, said the country should work on its capacity so that it is not entirely dependent on transmitted power but able to store some.
“For example, if there can be an outage in Mozambique for some reasons, it means we will also not have power immediately because we do not have the capacity to reserve excess power. Therefore, we need to work on this,” he said.
The Malawi – Mozambique power interconnector is also in line with Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and the Malawi 2063 blue print.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.