The Infrastructure Development Project (IDP) is being funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of the government of the USA. USD 257.1 million – more than two-thirds of the USD 350 million MCC Compact - will be used to fund infrastructure works that will improve the reliability, stability and quality of the power grid.

The IDP will focus on the following activities to improve ESCOM’s transmission and distribution capacities:

1. Transmission Network Upgrade

The transmission system is effectively the backbone of an energy system. The current power transmission system has reached the limits of its capacities, placing a major constraint on the possibilities to make any new connections in the centre or north of the country, and to improve the quality of the power supply. As the bulk of the generation capacity is in the south of the country, a high capacity transmission network is needed to transport electricity to distribution stations in the centre and north of the country. The MCA-Malawi Compact will build a high capacity (400 KV) line from Phombeya in Balaka to Nkhoma in Lilongwe; and a 132 kV line from Chintheche in Nkhata-Bay to Bwengu in Mzimba in the north of the country.

2. Distribution Network Upgrade, Expansion and Rehabilitation

The Compact will also expand ESCOM’s capacity to supply electricity at the local level in order to enable connecting of more customers and to ensure more regular and quality supply of power.

All of this will increase system capacity, making it easier to connect new customers without reducing the quality of power for those already connected. The Infrastructure Development Programme is due to be completed in 2018.