Residents of Area 25 in Lilongwe have threatened to take Escom to court after the sole electricity provider denied liability for damaged household appliances in more than 60 houses following a power surge in December last year.
The residents lost various appliances ranging from refrigerators, home theatres, television sets, DVD players, decoders, radios and cookers after a power line pole fell, resulting in the power surge.
But in letters to the customers dated April 4 2012, Escom denies liability for the damage.
â€œEscom has now concluded determination of its liability on the claim you submitted. In view of the circumstances of the foregoing, Escom regrets to advise that it is not liable for the damage caused,â€ reads one of the letters signed by Yamikani Kambauwa on behalf of acting legal and corporate services manager.
The letter says, according to engineers, the incident was due to a tree which fell onto Escom lines and damaged a neutral connection on a transformer.
â€œThe said tree was five metres away from our way leave corridor which is beyond Escomâ€™s control,â€ says Kambauwa.
But one of the victims, Rodgers Mumba, said the residents have now resolved to take the matter to court.
â€œAll we want is that Escom should come here, show us the tree and the rotten pole which was taken away immediately,â€ claimed Mumba.
He said they have already approached a lawyer to take up the matter.
Soon after the incident, the residents mobilised themselves to march to Escom regional offices in protest, but police stopped them after Escom regional manager Ngwile Mwenifumbo addressed them at the house of the areaâ€™s Block Village Head Mbewe.
Said Mbewe in an interview last week: â€œI really do not know how they have come to that conclusion because no one from this area was interviewed to really establish what happened considering that the incident happened while no Escom official was around.â€
Mwenifumbo in an interview, however,Â said the decision was made following an assessment by the companyâ€™s Public Liability Claims Committee.
â€œBut if the residents are not satisfied they can appeal,â€ he said.
Mwenifumbo also said after establishing the cause, Escom saw no need for interviewing witnesses.