Minister of Energy Newton Kambala has condemned vandalism of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) transformers, saying the development is worsening the company’s financial capacity and service delivery.
Speaking in an interview on Sunday, the minister said Escom’s financial capacity is weak following mismanagement of resources in the past, adding that vandalism of the company’s equipment is affecting its operations even more.
He said government is working to capacitate Escom and asked citizens to play their part by ensuring that the equipment is not vandalised.
Said Kambala: “Due to financial constraints, it is hard for Escom to serve some areas as there are a few transformers in stock. Transformers are expensive to source—each transformer costs about K15 million, but someone will vandalise it just to get K40 000. People’s economic activities, education, health services and other activities suffer because of such vandalism.”
He said suspected dubious connections also damage transformers.
“The kind of vandalism that occurs is that people steal earth wires, as such, transformers do not have any protection and they get damaged. The transformers get overloaded and in turn get damaged,” said Kambala.
In a separate interview, Livingstonia Synod Church and Society programme director Moses Mkandawire said there is need for intensive civic education for people to appreciate the importance of energy to the economy.
He said mindset change will help people safeguard the equipment.
Said Mkandawire: “There is need for serious vetting and to check integrity of people being employed.”
He added that corruption at Escom may worsen the situation as it frustrates employees.
Last year, the Tonse government ordered Escom to stop hiring of vehicles for its operation, after it emerged that the power utility company was spending K380 million per month to hire 140 vehicles. Kambala said that was not sustainable.