Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) customers on Monday took the State-owned utility body to task over unsatisfactory service delivery, accusing it of not living up to its customers service charter commitments.
The parastatal rolled out the current service charter in 2014 to serve as a benchmark on which the expectations of its customers are gauged and to also help it police itself when supplying power.
The service charter, among others, committed to attain service level standards, including opening for business any of its customer service offices from 8am to 4pm during week days, providing service standards and general information to customers and also attend to reported meter faults within four hours and resolve general complaints within 10 working days.
But the consumers, who took turns to voice out their concerns at a review meeting of Escom’s customer service charter in Blantyre on Monday, observed that most of the commitments in the charter are not adhered to.
Setting the ball rolling, Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito observed that the current charter was not publicised and contained things he said were not realistic allegedly because it was just copied from somewhere; hence, does not resonate with the country’s situation.
He said: “We are not pleased with attitudes and behaviours of Escom staff. Escom staff are rude and do ask for bribes to provide a service.
“We expect Escom to come up with a charter that reflects the aspirations of the consumers, one of which is speedy connectivity and well-mannered and ethical staff.”
On his part, Arkay Plastics maintenance in-charge Gilbert Hauli also accused the sole power supplier of not responding to customer complaints in time.
“Escom has failed in many ways, including delivering services on time. We, therefore, expect that Escom will improve in the many areas it has failed to deliver,” he said.
Zomba-based customer Kasuzi Mbaluko, noted that Escom has been taking sides particularly on connections, observing it tends to connect well-to-do customers and urged the company to be more transparent with the coming charter.
In his response, Escom chief executive officer Allexon Chiwaya admitted that Escom has not performed to the expectations of its customers, saying the meeting provided a platform for the company to hear views from their customers.
He said the review of the customer service charter underscores the importance that Escom attach to meeting expectations of its customers in service delivery.
Chiwaya said the new service charter is expected to be ready in March 2021 after consultations with the public
The new service charter, among others, seeks to iron out all the concerns from their customers.