Parliamentary committee impressed with MEAP progress

The Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change says it is impressed with the progress of the Malawi Electricity Access Project (MEAP), which Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited is implementing across the country.

The committee’s chairperson, Werani Chilenga, commented on the progress of MEAP after leading his fellow Members of Parliament (MP)’s in visiting MEAP warehouse in Lunzu, Blantyre, and some newly connected sites on Friday, October 20, 2023.

“We are very impressed with the progress of the project, which is very important in ensuring [increased] access to electricity by Malawians. So far, so good. We hope that in the way they are progressing, they will be able to clear the backlog,” he said. Chilenga then appealed to ESCOM, which is implementing the on-grid component of the World Bank-funded project, to fast-track connections especially in urban areas.

He noted that rural areas are already covered by other projects such as Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP). Speaking after the MPs’ visit, ESCOM Senior Projects Manager, Alex Kaitane, said they were on track to reach the target of 70,000 connections by December 2023, as so far, some 48,000 households have been connected.

“The objective of this project is to increase access to electricity within the communities. Therefore, we are targeting at connecting as many customers as we can. The target for the whole project, which is expected to end in June next year is 180,000 customers,” he said. “We have a mid-year target agreed with our financiers, which is to connect 70,000 customers by the end of December 2023, so as speak, we have connected in excess of 48,000 customers.”

MEAP has gathered momentum with electricity connections to households now extending to long service jobs, which involve the erection of poles for new connections. The project rolled out in February this year with direct service jobs only, as the long service jobs were subject to the World Bank’s approval of MEAP’s Environmental and Social Screening Report.

MEAP targets households located within 500-metre radius from existing ESCOM distribution transformers, as part of the government’s efforts to increase access to electricity which currently stands at around 12 percent. To qualify for MEAP, customers must have done wiring and paid K93,200 connection fee for single phase connections or must be those who can apply now and fulfill all the processes before the June 30 2024 project deadline.

MEAP, or Sesa Project, aims to increase access to electricity in Malawi through medium voltage and low voltage network expansion. Customers can kickstart the process of applying for Sesa Project connections by collecting application forms from either the nearest Escom office or downloading the form from ESCOM’s website. Sesa Project was launched officially on December 23 2022

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