* Electricity units tokens for EGENCO employees are paid for by the company every single month
* Therefore, the question of loss of revenue from these fully and duly paid for units does not arise
* ESCOM to carry out door-to-door countrywide meter account verification and revenue protection exercise
* Also to appreciate the challenges its customers face with such accounts and enhance service delivery
By Duncan Mlanjira
Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO) has distanced itself from claim by its sister company, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) that it is losing billions of kwachas in a syndicate that involves employees who resell their allocated electricity units.
EGENCO stresses that it does not have any control of the system that issues electricity units, saying it is ESCOM’s responsibility for any sales and reissuing of the prepaid tokens.
The company also says it does not condone any form of abuse of any privilege or benefit that an employee gets as part of their remuneration while acknowledging that it has taken note of the concerns raised in the media reports and is investigating of such abuse of the electricity units that it buys from ESCOM for its employees.
Thus EGENCO stresses that the electricity units tokens for its employees are paid for by the company and “therefore, the question of loss of revenue from these fully and duly paid for units does not arise” since it honours all payments every single month for the electricity units that EGENCO and its employees use.
“ESCOM should therefore talk of revenue loss on electricity units given to their employees,” said the statement.
This comes after media reports that a syndicate of ESCOM employees has defrauded the company of about K60 billion worth of pre-paid meter units since 2018 that were sold by pararell structures to companies and individuals.
This was revealed by the newly-appointed ESCOM Chief Executive Officer, Kamkwamba Kumwenda, who indicated that this has been going on since the company migrated to pre-paid meter billing system.
He added that preliminary findings exposed some Malawians of Asian origin and their companies, who will not be buying electricity units from ESCOM for the next five years.
“We are losing K12 billion annually through commercial loss which include ESCOM and EGENCO employess selling their electricity allocations to these entities and individuals,” Kumwenda is quoted as saying.
On Tuesday, Kumwenda and his team are reported to have made a surprise visit on Kips Restaurant in Blantyre, which is accused of buying electricity from parallel markets.
Kumwenda alleged that the restaurant has dubiously been buying units from ESCOM and EGENCO employees, arguing that this means Kips Restaurant Group owes ESCOM over K61 million.
“We will name and shame all people who are doing such illegal activities because ESCOM is losing a lot of money every year due to such unpatriotic tendencies,” he told the media.
In Lilongwe, it has been reported that Galitos, situated at Game Complex, has been charged K13.9 million for buying pre-paid ESCOM units through illegal means.
It is reported that the pre-paid meter for Galitos, which is owned by Crossroads Hotel, is registered in the name of Sinegy Farm Central Poultry.
Meanwhile, the CEO Kumwenda says they will now embark on a nationwide inspection of the 461,000 properties that have been flagged in the fraud and those discovered shelled be named and shamed.
A statement on Tuesday, ESCOM said the door-to-door countrywide meter account verification and revenue protection exercise will roll out effective April 2022 to appreciate the challenges its customers face with such accounts and enhance service delivery.
“During the exercise, a team of assigned ESCOM employees shall visit households and establishments that use electricity to verify meter account details and meter functionality.
“We, therefore, urge our customers to cooperate with the assigned employees who shall visit households and establishments during working hours across the country by granting them access to their premises and assist them with meter account information when they seek clarification.
“The assigned ESCOM employees carrying out this exercise would easily be identifiable as they shall be using branded ESCOM motor vehicles and have identification cards.
“We urge our customers who suspect or know that their meter functionality was tampered with to declare such issues. Those who do not declare and only get identified during the exercise, will be named in the public media.”