The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited (Escom) is seeking expressions of interest from firms or consortia interested in the construction of second phase of the Kapichira hydropower station on the Shire river. The project will help in doubling the capacity of the plant from 64 megawatt (MW) at present. The project will include design, supply, installation and commissioning of two 32-MW machines and associated equipment, transformers, switchgear and a transmission line.

The transmission line will link Kapichira to the Escom grid.

Phase 1 of the Kapichira hydropower station was commissioned in 2000.

Project will include a feasibility study review that will accommodate changes in the capacity and condition of the existing Kapichira reservoir and their impact on both the output and operational conditions of the electromechanical equipment in view of the increasing siltation of Malawi’s river systems.

Detailed design and costing for all the components of the proposed project, including a comprehensive sediment monitoring and management programme for the Shire river, will also be included.

The bidder who wins the contract will also be required to train personnel in the operation and maintenance of the supplied and installed equipment.

The company said that the firms or consortia submitting their expressions of interest should demonstrate their technical capability to design and construct the works as well as their financial capacity to implement such a big project.

“Civil works for the two machines will be minimal since most of the major civil works were already undertaken for these two remaining machines under the phase 1 development,” Escom spokesperson said.

“Escom intends to [call] for proposals for the turnkey contract from short listed firms by the end of March and have the contract awarded by early July.”

“This will be demonstrated through the provision of company brochures, descriptions of similar works performed on a turnkey basis, key staff [members] and proposed organizational arrangements for the execution of the project – whether the firm chooses to undertake [the project] as a sole entity with minimal subcontracts or [whether it will] mainly use subcontractors for both design and installation.

“Firms/consortia must also submit financial statements related to the company as a whole and also in connection with works of similar nature undertaken in the recent past and any other information the firm might consider relevant to enhance its qualification,” Escom said.

The deadline for submission of the required information is March 6, 2009. The company said that interested firms or consortia could get additional information from its head office, in Blantyre.

The development of the Kapichira hydroelectric power scheme is part of Escom’s plan to increase its generation capacity and reduce the incidence of blackouts.

North Rukuru river hydro power project and the Mozambique–Malawi electricity interconnector project, which will allow the power utility to start importing power from neighbouring Mozambique are also included in the plan.