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Peter Mutharika commissions gensets

President Peter Mutharika has said Malawi is on course to complete the power interconnector deal with neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and Zambia, a deal which is expected to end power blackouts.

Mutharika said this yesterday at the commissioning of diesel-powered generators that are expected to add 55 megawatts of power to the national grid following a two-year contractual deal with Aggreko, an international power firm.

“Today, we are commissioning 55 megawatts added to the national grid. The first 35 megawatts are installed here in Blantyre while 20 megawatts are already installed in Lilongwe. We are expecting 23 more megawatts to be installed at Chinyama in Kasungu,” he said.

The commissioning of generators has been made despite reservations from some players such as the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry which described the move as a sign of desperation at Capital Hill.

But Mutharika said Malawi, through the power interconnector, is soon poised to tap power from Mozambique as part of the Southern African Development Community power pool project.

“Enough power will help us to end poverty, create jobs, produce and export more products,” Mutharika said.

Mutharika said the diesel genset are a short-term measure because the pact between Malawi and Aggreko ends in the next two years.

“Consumers will have more hours of power than before. Malawi is on track to improving operations of small and medium enterprises, including different livelihoods.

“By the beginning of next year, we will have added about 300 megawatts more than the 351 megawatts we have been generating in 53 years. In the three years of my government, we have done more to resolve the energy problem than any other government since independence,” he said.

He added that, for Malawi to achieve economic gains, power supply is vital; hence, the idea to allow independent power producers (IPPs) such as Aggreko to come in and invest in areas such as coal, solar and wind, among others.

“I can say that Malawi’s power challenges will come to an end very soon. This is the beginning of the end of [power] challenges,” Mutharika said.

Last year, power utility provider, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), said it would add 70 megawatts to the national grid through the use of solar power supplied by Independent Power Producers.

However, discussions are in progress between the office of the single buyer at Escom and interested IPPs, according to Escom’s Board Chairperson, Perks Ligoya.

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