2 November 2018

Malawi: As Malawi Braces for Longer Blackouts Weather Expert Says Mwera Winds Has No Effect On Power Reduction

A weather expert has laughed off assertions by power generators Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (Escom) that the cyclone winds, popularly known as Mwera, are to blame for the current prolonged power cuts.

Escom public relations manager Innocent Chitosi said Mwera winds have reduced water levels on Lake Malawi and Shire River where over 90 percent of the country's electricity is generated.

He said Malawians should expect longer loadshedding hours following a reduction in power generation from the current 200 megawatts (MW) to 180 MW.

But Yobu Kachiwanda, director at the Meteorological and Climate Change Department said Mwera winds cannot affect the production of electricity, saying usually they push water on one side temporarily.

"On long term, the Mwera winds can cause evaporation but this does not happen in Malawi. It is always good and advisable that officials should consult us before making statements of this nature," said Kachiwanda.

He said scientifically, it is very remote for the cyclone winds to reduce the water levels in Lake Malawi or Shire river as claimed by Escom publicist in his recent interviews with the media.

Malawi has once again been hit by prolonged black outs as Egenco has gone back to load-shedding .

Chitosi said the mwera winds have reduced water used for the generation of power in Shire river from 200 megawatts to 180 megawatts.

This comes at a time when Zambia is providing Malawi with 20 megawatts of electricity a deal which started last week.

The five-year cross-border power supply means that Escom will have at least 220 MW of power from the current 200 MW against a peak demand of around 350 MW subdued by reduced water levels.

"As weather experts, we did a research on this and discovered that the mwera winds does not reduce water levels in the lake, this is not correct, there might be some reasons but as far as I know, the water levels have not reduced in the lake," said Kachiwanda.

This comes at a time government is struggling to woo serious investors into the country but most of them are refusing to put their money in the country due to erratic supply of electricity.

The country has been experiencing power outages since 2017 when electricity users were being subjected to 23 hours of load shedding per day.

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