By Glory Msowoya, MANA
Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) has said almost 90 percent of its customers have migrated to the new pre-paid billing system in the country.
Speaking to Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Wednesday, ESCOM’s Public Relations Manager, Innocent Chitosi said the process was still ongoing and only few customers were yet to start using the new system as the process for importing the materials was still in progress.
“So far, we have done 90 percent of installation of the prepaid meters for our customers and we are expecting to finish the installation for the remaining 10 percent who are still using post-paid meters.
“As of now, we are still working on importing materials,” Chitosi said.
He added that ESCOM has presently improved its revenue through collection of outstanding bills from customers using the pre-paid billing system.
“The exercise has been smooth because there was an arrangement to deduct a certain percentage from customers who had outstanding bills when they purchase units for their pre-paid meters.
“As I speak, we have managed to clear all the outstanding bills.”
However, Chitosi could not be drawn to disclose the actual amount the utility body has collected.
A resident of Chimwankhunda in Blantyre, Apatsa Selemani hailed ESCOM for deciding to embark on the new billing system, saying it promotes the spirit of planning, time management as well as budgeting.
“Generally, it’s a good system which has helped households to use electricity according to their income, unlike during the post-paid system.
“But we sometimes experience intermittent network which impedes the buying or loading of prepaid units.
“However, with proper planning of not waiting to use up all the units before purchasing, it helps to get out of such network interruptions without experiencing blackout individually,” Selemani said.
He added that the prepaid system had made life easy because one is able to get lights back rather than the post-paid system which required one to go to ESCOM offices, just to settle bills before a reconnection or to avoid a disconnection.
ESCOM started the process of transferring its customers from post-paid to pre-paid billing system as one way of improving efficiency in its revenue collection.