By Bester Kayaye
High cost of electricity by the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) has forced government-owned water supply company, the Blantyre Water Board (BWB), to consider constructing a solar plant to power its water pumps, engines and decontamination equipment.
BWB made the revelation on Monday during the launch of its 2020 – 2025 strategic plan.
BWB board chairperson George Nnesa said the project, to be funded by the Reserve bank of Malawi (RBM), will help the parastatal save on electricity bills and invest the savings in improving services and ensuring institutional growth.
The water utility body incurs a MK1.2 billion monthly average bill, which is usually off-set from an average monthly earning of MK1.3 billion.
“We plan to reduce electricity bills, which eat almost 80 percent of our income,” said Mnesa as he assured that solar power will make the company more efficient in operations.
“Looking at the growing water demand across the country, we intend to expand our income base by reducing expenditures including on electricity which will be complimented by a solar plant to generate power from Nkula falls,” he said.
The Board chair then called on government to bailout the institution from an accumulated outstanding balance of about K24 billion owed to ESCOM over the past two years.
Nnesa also disclosed that BWB will, within the lifespan of the 5-year strategic plan, expand its water storage facilities such as the one in Nguludi in order to meet the accelerated demand of clean water.
In her remarks, Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Nancy Tembo, called on stakeholders to commit themselves and collaborate with the Board in implementing the strategy.
“The board has a sound plan and strategy of how it wishes to serve its customers better in the next years,” she said. “But there is need for it to take a serious step in ensuring it is implemented. This requires that all stakeholders should revitalize their commitment to see the strategy being actualized,” Tembo said
She added: “Among other things government expects to see BWB curb 54 percent of non-revenue water which is lost due to illegal connections and poor infrastructure.”
Tembo assured the parastatal of government’s commitment to supporting it in settling its financial problems through the Ministry of Finance, which she said will facilitate the bailout.