Not so long ago Group Village Headman (GVH) Bondo of Traditional Authority Mabuka, Mulanje could have been indifferent about any discussion on Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Since January 2016, Bondo is one of the customers of Mulanje Electricity Generation Agency (MEGA) the first licenced off grid IPP in Malawi. Activities that seemed to be a distant dream such as watching television in the home, charging phones and studying under good lighting at night are now a reality.
Since September, however, except for a few days, maintenance works and low water levels have hindered MEGA from supplying electricity to its customers. “This period only emphasises the great difference that electricity makes in our lives,” says Bondo whose family intends to use the electricity more productively by buying a fridge for a beverage business as well starting layer poultry farming.
Currently, MEGA’s generation capacity stands at 60 kilowatts and the agency has 289 customers including households, a school, health centre and maize mill. The IPP is already working to realise the expansion of its generation capacity and to supply electricity to at least 400 new customers.
“MEGA’s efforts are impressive and a strong signal of how IPPs can transform the electricity sector and livelihoods,” remarked Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) Board Chairperson Rt. Rev. Joseph Bvumbwe when he visited MEGA office and Lower Bondo hydropower generation site on 20th October, 2016.