Musanze hydropower plant

Malawians will be spending Easter holidays in the dark, as the national power utility, Electricity Generation Company Malawi Limited (Egenco), announces plans to shut down Nkula A and B hydropower plants for maintenance work.

Nyasa Times reported that Egenco stated that it will be shutting down the power generation stations for two days during the Easter holidays in April, which will take out 124MW of the total 360MW national generation capacity.

The company’s chief executive officer, William Liabunya, confirmed to the media that the power stations will completely shutdown from the Eve of Easter Thursday 13 April to Saturday 15 April.

"Following the shutdown, the pond will be drained to allow for the works which will be in the tunnel. The stations will be brought back into service on Saturday 15t April in the evening. 124MW will therefore be taken out of the generation capacity during these two days," Liabunya explained.

Egenco makes backup plans

The shutdown of Nkula A and B power stations is expected to have a huge impact on consumers as another utility service provider Blantyre Water Board (BWB) operations are expected to be affected, media reported.

However, Liabunya assured the nation that plans have been put in place to ensure that BWB operations are mitigated.

"Water pumping at Walkers Ferry may be affected but we are working together with Blantyre Water Board to come up with mitigation measures to avert any problems in water supply this may bring about. We will open up a channel to help BWB operate normally," he said.

It is reported that the company said it was taking advantage of the holidays to undertake the maintenance works since most industries won’t be operating thereby the situation is expected not to heavily impact on domestic consumers.

Rehabilitation works

Media also reported that Egenco is expected to perform another major rehabilitation operation on Nkula A power station under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact. Read more...

The rehabilitation works, which will commence in June this year, are expected to add 12MW to the current 24MW that the 50-year-old hydropower station generates on daily basis. Read more...

Liabunya said: "The rehabilitation works will improve the power station, modernise it and extend its life span. While the main rehabilitation works for Nkula A will start in June, preparatory works are kick-starting this April. There will [be] a total shut down of the power station for eight days during the course of the rehabilitation works.”

"Therefore only Nkula A with 24MW will be shut down while Nkula B with 100MW will still remain operational. Tedzani III power station will also start undergoing rehabilitation. This rehabilitation will also modernize and upgrade the power station. Damaged parts of equipment will be fixed and improved, state of the art equipment and technologies will be installed, and generation capacity will also be increased.

"10MW will be added to the current 52MW making it a total of 62MW. The contract for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the machines already started and part aid while in Escom and works are to start in May 2017."