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Weather patterns worsening power outage – Escom

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Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Chief Executive Officer Kamkwamba Nyirenda has said the change in weather patterns is affecting power production from the solar system, exacerbating periods of power outages.

Nyirenda told journalists in Lilongwe this morning that the institution has the operating capacity of 285 Megawatts (MW) for the next three months against the capacity of 361 MW.    

 “With solar, in an ideal situation, we needed to have a battery because solar is variable. Right now it is cloudy. Instead of giving us 60 MW, we are getting 20 MW.  It is difficult for Escom in terms of planning for the load shedding programme. The output of solar even fluctuates,” he said.

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He added that the institution is discussing with industrial companies to shift their demand to off peak hours as one way of ensuring that power is being supplied to all.

The power utility company further decried delays to secure approvals from Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority and Anti-Corruption Bureau for various procurements of materials.

“Currently we are getting a go ahead to procure materials that were requested in 2019.  When we get to suppliers there is price adjustment which affects the entire process,” he said.

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Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola said Malawians are paying the costs of failure by governments to invest more in major power plants since the 1960’s.

Matola has since assured the public of efforts that are taking place to increase power generation in the country.

On Monday, government assured Malawians that cases of blackouts will be reduced significantly by December this year after securing $60 million for the rehabilitation of Kapichira hydro dam.

Escom is also expecting an additional 40 MW in the next two months from maintenance of existing hydro and diesel plants as well as from solar capacity from Nkhotakota.

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