Malawi Rural Electrification Programme

Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP) started in 1980 with Electricity Supply Corporation  of Malawi  ( ESCOM ) as the implementing agency through donor and own financing. Later on, Government of Malawi took over implementation of the programme in 1995 and the Department of Energy (DOE) was appointed implementing agency The programme is executed in Phases. Since MAREP inception, eight phases of the programme have been implemented. This involved extending power  distribution lines to district administration centres, major trading centres, tobacco growing areas and the development of the 4.5 Mega Watt Wovwe Hydro electric Power Plant. The objective of MAREP is to increase access to electricity for people in peri-urban and rural areas as part of Government’s effort to reduce poverty, transform rural economies, improve productivity and improve the quality of social services according to the Rural Electrification Act, 2004.

The Department of Energy Affairs started with construction of MAREP Phase IV in 2002 and was completed in May 2007 with a total of 97 trading centers electrified. MAREP phase V electrified 27 trading centers across the country and was completed in 2009. In Phase VII, MAREP implemented 54 trading centres, two centres in each of the 27 Districts except Likoma which is fully electrified.

Implementation of Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP) is according to the Rural Electrification Master Plan formulated in 2003, updated from time to time, which draws its mandate from the Rural Electrification Act, 2004.

The Rural Electrification Fund (REF) is the main source of funding for MAREP activities.  Other sources of the Fund include: (i) Such sums as shall be appropriated by Parliament for the purposes of the Fund; (ii) Rural electrification levies on energy sales as may, from time to time, be imposed by the Authority under the Energy Regulation Act; (iii) Such sums or assets as may, from time to time, accrue to or vest in the Fund by way of grants, subsidies, bequests, donations, gifts and subscriptions from the Government or any person; (iv) Such sums or assets as may be donated to the Fund by any foreign Government, international agency or other external body of persons, corporate or unincorporated; (v) 50% of penalties and fines payable or imposed under this Act; (vi) The proceeds from sale of rural electrification lines and equipment funded by the Fund; and (vii) Any other income authorized under this Act or income recognized as such by accounting standards and practices.

Management of Rural Electrification assets is supposed to be under a concessionaire. However, in the absence of such concessionaire, operation and maintenance of all MAREP assets are done by the country's power utility company, ESCOM.

 

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