Malawians will from New Year’s Day in 2016 start dipping deeper in their pockets to pay for electricity as Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has approved a tariff hike to K53.69 (about $0.08) from the current K40.69 (about $0.06) per kilowatt-hour.
This raise comes barely a month after the energy regulator gave Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) a 13.7 percent increase in tariffs
According to a statement signed by Mera board chairperson Dingiswayo Jere, Mera approved the tariff hike after considering the impact of inflation rate and exchange rate movement that resulted in a 6.6 percent increase.
Reads the statement in part: “The tariff which was beyond the statutory plus or minus five percent threshold for revising tariffs and therefore the electricity tariff qualified for an upward adjustment.”
The statement said during its meeting on December 2, the Mera board noted a further depreciation of the local unit to K612.38 against the United States dollar and that inflation rate also went up to 24.7 percent in October this year as computed by the National Statistical Office (NSO).
In an earlier interview with The Nation, Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) executive director Edward Chilima predicted that electricity tariffs were set to be raised owing to the sharp weakening of the kwacha and rising inflation.
He, however, urged Escom to embrace the public sector reforms that are currently being championed by government, observing that there are a number of inefficiencies in the management of parastatals.
Similarly, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito queried Mera’s earlier approval for a tariff hike, observing that Escom has failed in most of the key performance indicators necessitating further power hike.
In Malawi, electricity tariffs are expected to be reviewed every four years and since 2008, there have been two electricity tariff reviews, the first being from 2009 to 2013 and the second from 2014 to 2017. n