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Vandalism caused the blackout— Escom

Kamkwamba Kumwenda

By Justin Mkweu & Mathews Kasanda

Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) says the vandalism of a phase conductor near Kameza in Blantyre caused 2:58 minutes nationwide black-out on Saturday from 18:34.

Escom Chief Executive Officer Kamkwamba Kumwenda said this during a press brief at the entity’s offices in Blantyre Sunday.

According to the CEO, restoration of power commenced immediately after the problem was discovered but the system remains fragile.

“On this national blackout, vandalism is the cause as the fault in the line caused machines to trip. The system is very fragile since the country lost Kapichira Power Station,” he said.

Escom has commenced investigations into the cause of the national power blackout on Sunday night.

It has, however, indicated that its suspects that theft of its materials could have been one of the contributing factors.

Escom has said the system failure coincided with the vandalism of its conductors on the Nkula A to Blantyre 66 Kilovolts overhead line around the same time.

Kumwenda said the “initial suspicion is that the fault was induced in order to steal the conductor”.

There was a national blackout on Saturday starting from 6pm but power was restored in most areas by 1 am on Sunday.

A statement from Escom management reads: “System restoration works started immediately followed by the restoration of power supply to most parts of the country by 1am on Sunday, 19th June 2022.”

This year, there have been other national blackouts, with some stakeholders fearing that the incidences border on the country’s security.

Power supply has been battling various challenges lately, one of which being vandalism of Escom transformers.

Energy Minister Ibrahim Matola and Kumwenda indicated that a single transformer costs K8 million.

Last month, Kumwenda told The Daily Times that Escom needed 600 transformers.

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