Collaboration among ESCOM, EGENCO and Power Africa delivers first Automatic Generation Control in Malawi

By Peter Kanjere, ESCOM PRO

Malawi energy sector got a boost on November 8 2023 with the launch of a first-ever Automatic Generation Control (AGC) to improve electricity system stability.

The launch of AGC took place in Blantyre courtesy of collaboration among Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited, Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO) Malawi Limited and Power Africa. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded SAEP to implement AGC whose end-users are ESCOM and EGENCO.

In his speech marking AGC launch, Minister of Energy, Ibrahim Matola, said the new system will bring stability to the country’s electricity system by introducing generation-fast response to power demand changes in real time.

“The energy landscape in Malawi is evolving at an unprecedented pace with the responsibility of ESCOM and other players in the energy sector becoming more complex. Therefore, AGC represents a critical step towards ensuring reliability and stability of the national power grid,” Matola said.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Eng. Alfonso Chikuni, described the AGC launch as the sign of growing collaboration among players in the energy sector.

Speaking earlier, ESCOM Chief Operations Officer (COO), Maxwell Mulimakwenda, said AGC would ensure balance between generation and load demand, frequency as well as power interchange with other systems.

“I believe this is the beginning of collaboration among different players in the energy sector under the leadership of the Minister of Energy Honourable Ibrahim Matola,” Mr Mulimakwenda said.

He added that AGC will help ESCOM and EGENCO balance electricity demand and supply while also managing frequency.

“The main role of a system and market operator is to balance demand and generation on a second-by- second basis,” Mr Mulimakwenda said

He said the launch of AGC was in line with ESCOM’s Integrated Strategic Plan for the period 2023 to 2027 launched in Lilongwe on October 27 2022 under the theme: ‘Driving value by building positive stakeholder relationships and partnerships.’

In his earlier speech, EGENCO Acting CEO, Dr Maxon Chitawo, said AGC was an important innovation for his company and ESCOM in service delivery.

“Today, we are looking at this AGC so that we can control the frequency of the supply chain of electricity” he said.

He said EGENCO was happy to have worked hand-in-hand with ESCOM to deliver on AGC .

Office Director for the Sustainable Economic Growth Office for USAID-Malawi, Jeff DeGraffenreid and Escom Board Member Dr Jacob Mazalale also hailed ESCOM and EGENCO for delivering the goods through AGC.

AGC has replaced a manual system where ESCOM was managing generation control through its National Control Centre with EGENCO performing a similar task through its Generation Control Centre. Likewise, local power plant operators were doing similarly via their generation sites using telephones.


-AGC will achieve stable frequency regulation by sending automatic signals to four generators via the SCADA system.

-AGC adjusts output of generating units in response to changes in the load demand and system conditions while also allocating load demand among available units in a cost-effectice way, the COO noted.

-This is achieved by adjusting the output of the generating units according to the changes in the load demand and the system conditions.

-AGC also coordinates the economic dispatch of the generating units, which means allocating the load demand among the available units in the most cost-effective way.

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