15 June 2012 – Timeslive reports that Malawi’s total demand for power currently stands at 300 MW while the country’s generation capacity is only 266 MW.

The shortfall is projected to grow rapidly in a country where the World Bank says only 8% of the population of 14 million has access to electricity. The country’s ministry of energy estimates that Malawi will require 603 MW by 2015 and 829 MW by 2020.

Malawi’s hydroelectric power station on the Shire, the country’s largest river, is hampered by siltation and outdated equipment. Daily power cuts can last up to six hours and small and large companies alike struggle in the face of an uncertain power supply.

A 2008 proposal, backed by a US$200 million dollar package from the World Bank, to buy power from Cahora Bassa in neighbouring Mozambique has faced numerous delays. The interconnection plan is in-line with the Southern African Development Community’s emphasis on cooperation along shared watercourses. Energy-pooling is among the strategies employed in implementing the Protocol on Shared Watercourses, which supports joint development, transmission, and storage of energy to achieve greater reliability, economy and equitable sharing of costs and benefits among riparian states.

Cassim Chilumpha, Malawi’s energy minister recently told parliament that a technical team has yet to go to Mozambique to finalise the interconnector process.