Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) says it has collected penalty fees amounting to K305 million from 1528 fraudulent customers the electricity supplier found bypassing or tampering with its billing system to get free electricity or lower bills.
According to Escom public relations manager Kitty Chingota, the company caught the clients during a six month nationwide exercise it undertook from February to July this year to physically locate and verify customers on its database.
“The verification exercise was also aimed at reviewing safety issues, including the quality of electrical equipment in use, whether there are illegal or unsafe power connections and whether the customer tampered with the meters or extended power lines behind Escom’s back.
“Escom also found that it is losing K305, 000 through illegal connections,” said Chingota.
According to Chingota the company registered a high number of malpractices in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba, Thyolo and Mchinji.
Commenting on the issue, Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) executive director John Kapito expressed concern with the huge number of customers involved in the misconducts but also suggested that Escom is at fault.
“Escom have been poor in processing connections when consumers have applied to be connected” said Kapito.
Earlier last year a syndicate parading as ESCOM officers was uncovered after making illegal connections for people.