- Category: Comment
- Written by Nation Online
When a companyâ€™s tariffs go north while its services go south, it means the firm is giving its customers a raw deal. That is the case with the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
In less than 12 months, Escom has raised its tariffs twice, the latest being last month when it increased its charges from K9.80 per kilowatt per hour to K16.16, representing a 63.52 percent hike the firm blamed on changes to economic indicators such as the 49 percent devaluation of the kwacha and the ruling double-digit inflation rate.
We appreciate that these factors have affected most companies and Escom is no exception. But the hike is too much when compared to the cited factors; hence, people argue that the higher tariffs only hide the companyâ€™s inefficiencies. What angers electricity consumers is that they are not getting value for the additional money they have to cough up.
Blackouts are still the order of the day as the companyâ€™s load-shedding programme continues unabated, faults take too long to rectify and new connections are a nightmarish experience.
When will this end? Escom, which keeps missing its own deadlines on projects that are supposed to ease these problems, seems to have no clue.
It looks like the rehabilitation works at Nkula B, touted as a solution to blackouts upon re-commission and which were behind schedule last December and were re-planned for completion in June this year, are still a work in progress.
The question is: Why is Escom taking Malawians for granted? For how long will this parastatal be allowed to get away with such expensive inefficiencies?
We urge government, including Parliament, to kick someoneâ€™s backside at Escom, if need be, to jerk this corporation from its deep slumber.
This will not just help households, but the economy as a whole as companies increase production owing to reliable power.