CAMA Concerned with Electricity Tariff Adjustment
The Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) has described 69.7 percent proposed tariff hike by the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) as not justifiable, saying the charges do not reflect the services ESCOM provides to its customers.
On July 11, 23, ESCOM conducted public meetings in Blantyre soliciting views from the public pertaining to its application to the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) for a 69.7 percent tariff hike.
During the first public hearing, ESCOM Chief Operations Officer Maxwell Mulimakwenda said that the 69.7 percent tariff hike is reasonable as the company has not had any tariff increases for the past four years.
“We believe this adjustment is reasonable; other companies have had price increases for their products, but ESCOM has not had any tariff increases for the past four years,” he said.
But commenting on the matter, Malawi Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) Executive Director John Kapito said that the 69.7 percent increase will only push the burden on ordinary consumers who are already struggling for survival.
“When ESCOM increases the electricity tariff, everything goes up.
This will definitely put a burden on our consumers,” he said. Kapito reasoned that ESCOM could have put the tariff increase on government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) and not on ordinary consumers.
Kapito further asked government to dismantle ESCOM’s sister company, Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO), saying it is not adding any value to the country’s power supply.
“It is like people are just funding these institutions that are not efficient. It could be better to have only one
company, and then probably have a department that can look into production. By doing so, we can also reduce the cost to run these institutions,” explained Kapito.
However, Mulimakwenda narrated that people should not panic as the proposed tariff increase will be implemented in phases for the next four years. “This does not mean that from August on, ESCOM will increase tariffs by 69.7 percent. This adjustment will be phased from 2023 up to 2027,” clarified Mulimakwenda.
He further disclosed that the tariff hike will help ESCOM improve its service delivery and buy power from local companies and interconnector projects in Mozambique.
On the other hand, MERA Executive Director Henry Kachaje said he is delighted and contented with the information received from ESCOM and the public regarding the proposed tariff hike.
“This is a revised version of what was submitted earlier. We will take comments from all angles, and then we will sit down and discuss the way forward,” he said.