Escom warns Malawians of massive blackouts

By Yamikani Msukwa
The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has warned electricity users of more massive blackouts from August 31 through
to September 13, 2013 due to the switching off of Kapichira 1 Hydro Power plant.
Customers will experience 4 hour load shedding for the next two weeks.

The switching off, according to the company, will facilitate the installation of two machines to increase Kapichira Hydro Power plant’s
capacity. The switching off will result into a reduction of about 64 mega watts of power from the country’s main grid. The development will facilitate smooth connection of Kapichira machines to the main water sources, according to Escom’s Chief Executive Officer, John Kandulu. “A total of 64 mega watts will be taken out from the system and this will mean that there will be a reduction in generation capacity of about 23 percent resulting in the need for extensive load shedding to cover the reduced capacity.
“With current machines that are already in existence, we will have a total of 128 mega watts because for the four machines each will have an additional 64 mega watts,” said Kandulu.
He justified the move, saying the work will need to be done in dry conditions hence the switching off of the hydro plant.
Presently, the country demands 310MW and Escom provides about 287MW. The shutdown of the hydroelectric plant will likely affect operations in various sectors.

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