Malawi became independent in 1964 and commissioned it’s power sub- stations in 1966.
Since then no major works have been dedicated to the facilities.
At that time Malawi had only substantial population but now we are talking of more than 18 million of people. To provide electricity to this population, with less than 300 megawatts, the country has been struggling.
Despite perpertual maintenance of the broken down machines, the country has never recovered from persistent blackouts.
This has been so because of disparities between the number of people fighting to have access to the power grid and the quantity of electricity produced..
Malawi Government through funding from Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) started construction and maintenance of 400 KV substations from Phombeya to Lilongwe but that was still not enough to meet the current demand.
However, the power disparities will soon be a thing of the past for mother Malawi as Japanese Government has provided a K23.1 billion grant to finance rehabilitation of two Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) key power distribution substations in Lilongwe.
These power substation include the expansion and refurbishment of Kanengo power sub station and rebuild and refurbish Old Town power sub station.
Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola described the project as a milestone in the energy sector.
He said the project will improve power quality and reliability of supply in the city of Lilongwe.
Matola added that Government of Malawi through the Ministry of Energy in collaboration with ESCOM, EGENCO, Power Market Limited, the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) and the private sector is implementing various projects aimed at improving power generation and supply in the country.
He says Japanese Government has always been there to support the country in power projects.
“Some of you will recall that about two decades ago, the Government of Japan supported the Government of Malawi through the Ministry of Energy in preparation of the first master plan for the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP) and financially supported procurement of some construction materials for the implementation of MAREP Phase 4.
“In September 2013, the Embassy of Japan handed over the 830kW solar power plant at Kamuzu International Airport to the Government of Malawi, and I was privileged to receive this on behalf of the government when I was also Minister of Energy then,” said Matola.
Matola said about a year ago, President Chakwera presided over the launch of Tedzani IV Hydro power plant which was co-financed by the Government of Malawi through EGENCO and the Government of Japan.
The energy minister said due to the growing economy, the demand for electricity has continuously been rising over the past years without corresponding investments in distribution infrastructure.
He said due to generation challenges, load has to be shed during peak periods to avoid dangerous over loads on lines and transformers, which would otherwise result in voltage collapse or even equipment failure.
“Overall, the existing system is greatly strained and the frequency of both scheduled and unscheduled blackouts /brown outs is increasing – constraining industrial production and provision of socio economic services in the process,” said Matola.
Matola explained that Malawi has recently added about 100 MW of generation capacity and that many power generation projects are in progress.
“As we are expanding the power generation, there is a need to simultaneously invest in the transmission and distribution infrastructure to improve the carrying capacity of our grid. It is against this background, that I regard this project as a significant milestone in achieving reliable and quality power supply in the country in general, and the city of Lilongwe in particular,” said Matola.
According to the Minister, Malawi will be a country without blackouts because all electricity stakeholders are working to implement the vision of President Chakwera which he said want this country to produce 1000 Megawatts by 2025.
“We will meet that target” said Matola.