ESCOM backs 69.7% electricity adjustment proposal

By Chisomo Phiri

The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) has backed its decision to adjust electricity tariff by 69.7 percent saying the move will help the corporation to provide continuous and uninterrupted electricity to many Malawians across the country.

This was said on Monday during a 2023-2027 electricity base tariff application public hearing held at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre.

According to ESCOM Operations Officer Maxwell Mulimakwenda, on top of providing continuous and uninterrupted electricity to Malawians, the elecctrity tariff adjustment which will run for four years will also enable ESCOM to pay power generators, fund its operations, cushion against devaluation and improve customers service.

Maxwell Mulimakwenda, ESCOM Operations Officer

“We need to provide continuous and uninterrupted supply of electricity to malawians,” said Mulimakwenda.

The ESCOM Operations Officer added that through the process, ESCOM is expected to make 240, 000 new connections in the next four years, of which 20,000 will be free.

But on his part,Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) Director John Kapito protested the said 69.7 percent electricity tariff hike saying it will have negative implications on the consumers who are already struggling.

Kapito suggested a 46 percent tariff hike makes more sense.

He said the parastatal has no moral ground to raise electricity that much observing that it has failed to meet many of its key performance indicators in the previous four years.

CAMA Director also condemned ESCOM for allegedly failing to find lasting solution towards eradication of corruption at its institution; arguing most of its generated money is misused.

John Kapito, CAMA Director

He further called for the dissolution of the Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO) arguing its existence is fueling electricity tariff increase in the country.

“Why having EGENCO for 300 megawatts? If we get rid of EGENCO, the proposals being made on tariffs will be low,” said Kapito.

He gave an example of a drop in the new proposed tariff arrangement to 67.9% following dissolution of Power Market Limited(PML).

“Just see, before PML was dissolved, the electricity tariff was about 90 or 99 percent after dissolving it, the figures dropped to 67.9 percent,” he said.

Again, Kapito asked ESCOM to be strategic enough in terms of disasters to avoid serious power disruptions.

“What we need from you is electricity, nothing else! Once you deliver that, we are also ready to abide by your requests,” he said.

The application for the tariff increase is set to be a successor base tariff to the one implemented from 2018 to 2022 which will mean that electricity consumers will pay an average of K177.26 per kilowatt hour (kWh) from the current average of K104.46/kWh.

In line with the 2017 Tariff Methodology, once every four years,ESCOM submits a base tariff application to Mera for consideration and approval.