ESCOM taken to task over electricity tariff hike

The Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources has told Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) to apologize to Malawians over the recent tariff hike.

The committee has also demanded the electricity supplier to suspend the price increase.

Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) announced a 10% electricity price hike on March 29 saying it would be effective March 30. ESCOM then effected the hike.

However, Parliament through the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources questioned the two bodies for effecting the hike without consulting the committee.

Appearing today before the committee, MERA Acting Chief Executive Officer Ishmael Chioko said MERA  just announced the hike of tariffs but the hike was not yet implemented.

He added that he told ESCOM acting CEO Clement Kanyama through a WhatsApp message to put the hike on hold.

But Kanyama told the committee that the new tariff was implemented following the announcement.

The revelations have led to questions over ESCOM’s conduct.

According to Chairperson of the Committee Werani Chilenga, the new tariffs came at a time when Malawians are suffering due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chilenga has since told ESCOM to apologize to Malawians and revert to the old tariff.

The electricity tariff was increased from K94.43 per kilowatt per hour (Kwh) to K104.46.