JICA-Funded Kanengo Substation to Accelerate Electricity Access

Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited Chief Executive Officer, Kamkwamba Kumwenda, says the upgrading of Kanengo and Old Town Substations will strengthen electricity network and increase electricity access in Lilongwe City and the surrounding areas.  

Kumwenda said this during the partial handover ceremony for Kanengo Substation by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to ESCOM in Lilongwe on Monday, January 22,  2024.

Kumwenda said the upgrading of Kanengo and Old Town Substations would improve the corporation’s capacity to connect more new customers to the national electricity grid.

“The JICA-funded project will improve electricity capacity immensely and once completed, it would make it possible for ESCOM to connect more than 81,000 new customers in Lilongwe, Ntchisi, Dowa, Kasungu and Mchinji to the electricity network thereby improving electricity access,” he said.

Kumwenda said the project was in line with ESCOM’s new strategic plan launched in October last year with the focus on providing ‘a New Customer Experience’.

According to Bernard Nkhulawe, Project Manager, the amount of work that has been completed at Kanengo Substation will allow ESCOM to connect over 15,000 new customers to the electricity network; hence, complementing the Malawi Electricity Access Project, which is under way.

Taking his turn at the same ceremony, ESCOM Board Chairperson, Mr Morgan Tembo, said the project ESCOM will improve the capacity of Kanengo Substation from 85MW to 158MW thereby making it possible for ESCOM to accommodate at least an additional 58,000 new connections.

Tembo also said ESCOM will also upgrade Old Town Substation from 37.5MW to 50MW thereby allowing the power utility company to connect 21,000 new customers.

“Therefore, apart from contributing to the increase in connecting customers to the electricity network, the project will also contribute to an increase in reliability of power supply in Lilongwe City and the surrounding areas,” he said.

Tembo said the support from JICA and the Government of Japan will go a long way in contributing to the social economic development of the country, as electricity is the catalyst for economic growth.

JICA Chief Representative, Kazuhiro Tambara, said Japan was committed to supporting the Government of Malawi to advance its socio-economic agenda.

“As JICA, we are excited that the project has been smoothly implemented so far and we are certain that it will have immense benefits to Malawi,” he said.

In his speech at the ceremony, Principal Secretary for Energy, Eng. Alfonso Chikuni, who represented Minister of Energy, Hon Ibrahim Matola, said the project resonates with the Government of Malawi’s Vision 2063, which seeks to create an Inclusively Wealthy and Self-Reliant Nation by ensuring that most Malawians in rural and urban areas have access to electricity.

“As a government, we will endeavour to continue investing in power generation, transmission, and distribution to reduce the power deficit that the country sometimes experiences especially when natural disasters strike,” he said.

Chikuni said the ministry will continue to support and create a conducive environment for other players in the energy sector to thrive and contribute to the country’s development.

The project started on July 15, 2022 with funding of 2.981 billion yen from JICA and the works are expected to conclude in May this year


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