Malawi is seeing another round of power outages caused by lower water levels in Lake Malawi, and the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) warns that there are likely more on the horizon.
Local media outlets say that recent outages are lasting for more than five hours a day in Blantyre, affecting a number of communities and frustrating businesses that take a financial hit when there’s no electricity. Escom officials, however, say there’s little they can do while relying on the hydroelectric power sources.
“As you might be aware, the country is experiencing electricity supply shortage due to, among other factors, inadequate hydroelectricity generation arising from low water levels on Lake Malawi and reduced flows on Shire River,” said Escom CEO Evelyn Mwapasa in a letter dated at the end of July.
That letter, addressed to Malawi’s top business society, warned that more outages follow in the absence of rains. The southeast African nation is among those seeing the impact of consecutive years of drought.
“Reports so far show that the country will continue to experience a shortfall in electricity supply unless the country receives normal to above normal rainfall for a period of about five years consecutively, or effective short to medium term interventions are implemented,” Mwapasa said in the letter.
The rolling “loadshedding” blackouts are expected to continue through at least December. Similar problems have affected residents of Zambia and South Africa, among others, as African nations relying heavily on hydropower continue to explore solar and other alternatives that are both sustainable and reliable.