13 March 2017

Malawi: Egeco, Escom Fight Over Tariffs As Malawi Power Black Outs Escalate

Energy Generating Company (Egenco) and Electricity Supply Commisison of Malawi (Escom) are battling over a K4 billion bill Egenco slapped with Escom in a power selling and buying deal.

This follows the government decision to unbundle Escom into two companies, the power generating company, Egenco and the power selling entity, Escom.

William Liabunya, the chief executive officer for Egeco has confirmed the disagreements between the twin companies over the selling and buying of power from each other. "Negotiations on the matter are going on. We have a tariff negotiations team for Egenco and there is a tariff negotiation team from Escom, they are discussing this issue," said Liabunya. Escom is disputing the K4 billion tariff issued by Egenco for January alone, saying it is too high and would put Escom bankrupt even before it has started operating fully.

Liabunya said the figure was arrived at by a consultant who is overseeing the splitting process of Escom into the two companies.

Meanwhile, Malawians continue to experience long hours of power blackouts especially during day.

Egenco, in a statement issued on Saturday says normally, by the month of January every year, the water level in Lake Malawi is supposed to be 474.5 metres above sea level (masl).

"This year however it was 473.0 masl, which is 1.5 metres below the required levels for maximum and normal power generation throughout the year," says the statement. The statement says with such a drop in the lake levels, Egenco Ltd continues to control the flow of the Shire River at Liwonde to ensure that there is adequate water harvested in Lake Malawi from the rains falling in the central and northern regions.

The statement says the water flow at Liwonde is being restricted to 115 cubic metres per second against the required flow of 260 cumecs for normal power generation.

"As such, power generation continues to be reduced to about 40% of the total capacity," says the statement in part.

Egenco says forecasts by the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services indicate continuation of rainfall, saying it is therefore, expected that the water level in the lake will continue rising.

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