Malawians have complained that Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) seek bribes to connect electricity to customers’ houses.
One customer said the company’s employee wanted as much as K550,000 to facilitate electricity power connection, a service which the power utility company provides at a fee.
Social commentator Onjezani Kenani wrote the customer’s account on Facebook: “Having applied for a new connection I was told to wait. Yesterday only to be told by the guys from ESCOM to pay them K550,000 for my connection to go through and if I do so I will have a connection done by Friday this week. I asked them: What’s this money for? They said it’s for me to get a meter. Really? Is that what everyone in our country pays to get a meter?”
Some customers who commented on Kenani’s post also complained that they were forced to pay a bribe to get new connection services.
“They told me to buy a transformer money for a maize mill connection while there is an existing transformer 200m away. The maize mill is entirely for the benefit of the community as the ministry donated it to them at Kalungwe in Nguludi-Chirazulu,” said Gracious Zimba.
ESCOM employees also pressurized a community in Zomba to give them money in order to fix a faulty transformer.
“Two weeks ago a transformer developed a fault and there was no electricity in half of Jali trading centre and the surrounding trading centres. The ESCOM guys took 3 days to come after the incident was reported. When they finally arrived they demanded kenakake from the community to fix the fault. In desperation, the community did,” wrote one customer.
Other customers also complained that they applied for a new connection two years ago but ESCOM is yet to connect power to their houses.