Authorities have further demanded the opposition and CSOs to suggest ideas of how the sole national hydro electric power supplier, ESCOM, can address the challenge which has hit the economy hard.
The Minister of Energy, Natural Resources and Mining has told Capital FM that the ‘fraught’ opposition and some CSOs are trying to frustrate the government on every problem stressing they (opposition and CSOs) also have a role in giving solutions to problems rocking the country.”
Bright Msaka who doubles as the vice president for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the Eastern Region spoke in Zomba o during a by-elections rally for the party’s candidate for Sadzi ward Mercy Chaputula Nkhoma.
The former legal practitioner slammed the tendency of politicizing the power cuts.
“Everyone should take the blame on depletion of the environment which has lead to climate change which in turn resulted in low rainfall and that’s why the Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM) is finding problems generating electricity.”
The minister said ‘It is a known fact that at the rate we are cutting our trees, it has lead to siltation of rivers and low rainfall which are directly affecting power generation yet the opposition and some quarters of CSOs are politicizing the issue instead of coming up with constructive ideas on how we can deal with this problem.”
He said the government is through the Power Sector Reform Project geared to address the electricity problem by installing diesel powered generators, solar power and constructing a coal fired power plant to alternate with the current hydro-generated power which is connected to the national grid.
“Currently five of ten diesel powered generations have already been installed in Lilongwe and they will contribute 20 megawatts of electrical power, and other similar generators which are expected to be installed in Blantyre and Mzuzu will contribute 26 megawatts which will help in reduction of blackouts.”
The minister added, ‘With these reforms, we have called on interested local and international solar companies to invest in Malawi and we expect a minimum of 70 megawatts to be added to the grid.’
However asked on the actual time on when the other power alternatives will be in use considering the fact that power shortages are impacting negatively on the development of the country, Msaka could not give specific time frame but was quick to say that the government will fast track implementation of the projects acknowledging that electricity is vital for Malawi’s development.
Currently ESCOM generates an approximate 351 megawatts against a demand of 2000 megawatts and Malawi has been experiencing frequent blackouts which the company attributes to low water levels in stations where it generates electricity.