Most of the contractors employed by Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)-Malawi to carry out works for the upgrading of Nkula A Hydro Power Plant have missed to meet April 2018 deadline of finishing their assignments.
The scope of the work involves the upgrading of 400 and 132Kilovoltes (Kv) power lines, substations and rehabilitation of the plant.
MCA Malawi Communications and Outreach Director, Zilani Khonje said deadlines of engineering projects are sometimes shifted to address issues which may arise in the course of implementation.
Khonje said initial agreement between MCA- Malawi and the contractors was that the projects’ construction works of transmission substations at Luwinga and Bwengu would be complete by April 2018.
“There have been some challenges which have caused delay in the completion of the construction projects. But we are confident and optimistic that all projects would be through by September this year,” Khonje said.
She told journalists who recently toured Luwinga, Bwengu and Sonda transmission substations, which are still under construction, that the 132 Kv transmission line from Luwinga to Bwengu substations has been completed and only awaits connection.
Commenting on the impact of the project to Malawians, Khonje said construction of the power lines and sub stations is to provide power carriers in preparation for electrical generation companies once reforms in the energy sector are concluded.
‘Malawi will be interconnected to Southern Africa Power Pool. Therefore, we will need strong transmission and distribution power lines hence upgrading the transmission network,” she said.
Briefing the journalists at Bwengu Substation, Chinese International (CHINT) Electric Company Civil Engineer, Jiao Jun Quiang confirmed his company having missed the deadline citing persistent rainfall as one of the factors which delayed the construction works.
“Our construction site is about three kilometers from the main road and it was sometimes difficult to ferry equipment due to bad condition of the earth road that leads to construction site especially during the rainy season,” Jiao said.
But he was quick to mention that his company is doing everything possible to complete the works at Luwinga, Bwengu, Chintheche and Nkhoma substations by September 2018.
MCA Malawi with support from United States Government under the US$350.7 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact engaged three contractors to implement projects under infrastructure development in the energy sector.
The companies contracted to implement the construction projects are Chinese International Electric Company, Kalpataru Power Transmission Limited and Consolidated Power Transmission (CONCO) Limited.