* Consumers are encouraged to make their contributions through email: email@example.com
* Or on WhatsApp number: +265 884 552 701
* Let us all make our comments both for or against this increase objectively
By Duncan Mlanjira
Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) says that as Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) reviews the application by Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) increase base power tariff for the next 4 years, the public should actively contribute towards its consultation process.
In a statement today, October 7, CAMA Executive Director, John Kapito says,as consumers, they “are required to make comments regarding the performance of ESCOM in the last four years” and at the same time, their “expectations in the next four years of the proposed tariff increase.
“Let us all make our comments both for or against this increase objectively,” he said. “Consumers must be reminded that it is our responsibility to participate on this crucial matter as it affects our economic livelihoods.
“Let us not complain after MERA has already approved or rejected the tariff increase application — let us speak out during this consultation process and please do make suggestions on how we want to see improved services from ESCOM in the next four years.”
The consumers are encouraged to make their contributions through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp number: +265 884 552 701.
Last month, CAMA also issued its concerns on ESCOM’s proposal to raise tariffs, saying the company needs to improve on critical Key Performance Indicators because “an increase in tariff alone will not get them out of the mess they have found themselves in”.
The consumer protection body asked the Government “to hire capable people in ESCOM”, saying the company’s operations are “key for both direct investment and local business environment” and that Malawi needs to, quickly as soon as possible, review the operations of ESCOM.
“We are appealing to employees of ESCOM that they have no mandate to request for the shutdown of ESCOM as we believe there are so many capable Malawians that can run ESCOM efficiently at the current tariff,” Kapito had said.
The Key Performance Indictors include:
1. Sales revenue — Electricity Revenue has been decreasing over the past years and partly attributed to the shutting down of Kapichira and the discontinued use of Aggrekko Diesel gensets and this had nothing to do with the tariff;
2. Energy sales — These went down drastically and ESCOM was unable to find alternatives and this has reduced their revenues as a result of continued blackouts without taking measures to restructure its heavy bloated and expensive structure;
3. Connection targets (new customers) — Access to Electricity in Malawi is currently at approximately 12% and ESCOM is still struggling and failing to meet its targets on new connections and they have failed badly under this Key Performance Indicator, the number of consumers connected to electricity during this phase is so negligible while Consumers continued demand connectivity;
4. System losses — ESCOM continues to make heavy system losses and these losses continue draining ESCOM’s revenue generation and unfortunately ESCOM has done nothing to address these challenges and yet it demands a tariff increase;
5. Collection efficiency — ESCOM’s biggest debtor and consumer is Government and ESCOM is failing to collect its debt from Government and this has affected the operations of ESCOM. These are revenues if collected can assist ESCOM to implement most of its functions and overall its collection efficiency is one of the poorest that cannot sustain its operations.