A contractor working on the Phombeya 400/132 KV electricity substation in Balaka has indicated that the power connection point will be completed early November 2017.
Phombeya is one of the three electricity power substations being constructed in the country for the transmission and distribution of among others the 400 Kilovolts (KV) to be imported from Cahora Bassa hydro-electric plant in Mozambique.
The contractor, an Indian firm, Larsen and Tubro Power Transmission and Distribution Limited, said the biggest challenge was leveling the 30 hectares land where the substation is being laid.
The revelation was made last week during a media tour of the site.
“For those who visited this place three months ago, it was a land full of bushes and undulations but we cleared all that, marking the completing of the first phase of the 400/132kv infrastructure.
“We are very committed and everything is on time, come November 10, 2017 we should be finishing the whole project,” said Manoj Goel Project Manager for the construction firm.
The power from Phombeya will be taken out to Nkhoma in Lilongwe through Golomoti to supply the Central Region and equally to the Northern Region, through Chintheche.
The construction of the substations comes ahead of the Malawi- Mozambique power interconnection project likely to materialise by 2020.
Over US$30 million has been bankrolled for the construction of the substations by Millennium Challenge Account-Malawi as part of the Millennium Challenge Compact.
Apart from the transmission and the distribution power substations, towers for the same project are also being erected.
The construction of the towers has started in Group Village Headman Tchaya of Traditional Authority Ganya in Ntcheu district being done by Kalpatura Power Transmission Limited.
About 415 towers are expected to be erected from Phombeya substation to Nkhoma in Lilongwe by October 2017.
MCA Director of Infrastructure Development, Felix Nkhoma, said apart from the power to be tapped from Mozambique, 300 Megawatts (MW) to be generated from Kam’mwamba coal fired thermal power plant will also be transmitted at Phombeya.
“We are also expected to connect the power from Nkula and then take it out to the nation grid. Basically, we are going to improve in transmission and distribution of power in the country,” Nkhoma, said.
Nkula, which has two power stations, generates a combined 124 MW.
Currently, the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) is experiencing a reduction in power generation from the installed 351 MW to 165MW, representing a power drop of 67 percent.
Apart from the Malawi-Mozambique power interconnection project and Kam’mwamba coal fired power plant, Escom is also banking its hopes on Independent Power Producers (IPPs). There are 22 IPPs who have signed a memorandum of understanding with the government and they are expected to produce a total of 565MW.