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Malawi hit by blackout as falling dam levels drain hydropower
December 7, 2017 / 10:33 AM / 6 days ago

Malawi hit by blackout as falling dam levels drain hydropower

BLANTYRE (Reuters) - Many parts of Malawi remained without electricity on Thursday after water levels at the country’s two main dams sunk to critical levels and affected hydro power plants, the power utility said on Thursday.

Malawi lost around 200 megawatts (MW) of hydro generated electricity supply on Wednesday night, leaving the southern African country in near total darkness for about two hours, state-owned Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) said.

The country’s total installed capacity stands at 351 MW.

Escom said recent rains were not enough to allow hydro power plants to adequately generate power at full capacity, meaning blackouts would be prolonged in the mostly agriculture economy.

The country has instituted severe rolling blackouts over the past two years as water levels at Lake Malawi and the Shire river, the main sources of hydropower in Malawi, fell sharply due to drought.

Since then Escom has been forced to slash supplies with 24-hour supply rotation to both residents and industries.

Since August power rationing hours, where certain areas are turned off while other have power, have increased from 10 hours to 15 and now 24 hours.

Reporting by Frank Phiri; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Keith Weir

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