11 October 2012 – The Nyasa Times of Malawi reports that the national Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has ruled out any possibility that power supply will be normalised after the modernisation works of machine number 5 at Nkula B power station.

Escom made clear that the upgrading of Nkula B station had nothing to do with reducing power blackouts across the country, as upgrading of the machine did not entail uprating it. Escom will still have a shortfall of 100 MW, and the country will continue to experience power rationing.

Escom is currently supplying 286 MW countrywide which is 100 MW less than what is required to cater for both domestic and industrial purposes throughout the country.

Minister of energy and mining Cassim Chilumpha disclosed recently that Gezhouba Group from China plans to build a US$500 million 1,000 MW thermal plant in Malawi which will help abate the frequent power shortages.The construction of the power plant is scheduled to start in 2013.

Various studies have identified a lack of reliable power supply as one of the key factors hindering investment in Malawi, with the most recent study, by the US’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), estimating that the country loses US$4,215million a year owing to power outages.

The MCC is set to invest about US$350million into Malawi’s energy sector for the rehabilitation and modernisation of the country’s power plants.Malawi is also preparing to link its electricity network with Mozambique’s.