Electricity woes worsen in Malawi

Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) and Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO) have come under fire from Malawians over extended hours of blackouts.

Malawians have taken to social media to complain about blackouts which have worsened over the past few days from the usual 8-hour blackouts a day.

In many areas in Lilongwe, some residents have had power for less than 12 hours a day since Friday.

In some areas on Saturday, power was switched off for eight hours from 4 AM, restored at around 2PM until 5 PM when a four hour blackout started.

Today, there have also been power outage since morning in many areas across the country.

On its Facebook Page, ESCOM posted a statement on Friday announcing a system shutdown which led to loss of power supply across the country.

On Facebook, there are numerous posts from Malawians complaining about the extended hours of loadshedding and the lack of clear explaination from EGENCO and ESCOM.

“Maybe it’s not ESCOM. Perhaps it’s EGENCO. But whoever it is, please spare us the pain. We are already suffering enough. What is on the load shedding schedule is not what is happening. (At least on this one I can speak on behalf of aMalawi),” wrote John Paul Kayuni on Facebook.

Another Facebook user, John Emma Kachere said: “We have three companies that are mandated to provide us with electricity. For avoidance of doubt, we have EGENCO, Power Market Limited and ESCOM. We also has one of the biggest rivers in Africa. We have the second largest lake in the region. We have so many hotspots for geothermal generation. We have so much coal within our borders. Now back to the three companies that I mentioned earlier, what on earth are they doing? Do we have a country? It’s been 14hrs since we had electricity but we are paying three CEOs who are doing nothing.”

Many on social media have urged President Lazarus Chakwera to take action by replacing management at ESCOM and EGENCO as well as firing Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola.

“ESCOM and EGENCO must fall! Tell the country the truth , we are tired of black outs and loading shading. The fact is someone or others have lost it. Mr President this is one of the rubbles you promised us to clean or it is the broom has nothing to do with this escom and EGENCO? I know we are going through a lot but this problem of electricity is just too much. That’s why I said it must fall,” said one person.

Another person said: “If President Dr Lazarus Chakwera was a serious President, by now we would’ve had rigorous shakeups at the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) as well as at the Electricity Generation Company Limited, not forgetting the removal of the Minister of Darkness, Ibrahim Matola. Clearly, they’ve failed their jobs, Malawi is having the worst electricity crisis in recent history, yet the indecisive Chakwera seems to be fine with that, is it because State House isn’t affected by these constant national grid collapses, is he out of touch with reality? Surely, this is not what we voted for in the 2020 fresh Presidential election.”

Social media commentator Joshua Chisa Mbele, in a Facebook post, pointed out that ESCOM is struggling because people have been stealing money from the company for years.

He wrote: “You can’t make all poor decisions. Loot like there is no tomorrow.
And still expect the company to survive. ESCOM is badly run company. Everyone of note in political establishments once in power steal from ESCOM.

“ESCOM gets free hydro power from free resources. Waterfall. The investment was made once many years ago. Why have they gone bankrupt today? Where is the money?”

His sentiments have been shared by Bright They who wrote: “That money you have been stealing, syphoning for politicians and hooligans, those fraudulent schemes you executed through mis-procurements in billions, that fuel – the missing fuel, the fuel supposedly stolen by guards in millions of litres, – in short all that incessant gallant stupidity of yours displayed over so many years is exactly what has got the country the current power outages.”

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