ESCOM hikes blackouts

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Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) has approved the request by Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) to increase electricity tariffs despite ESCOM delivering more blackouts than electricity to Malawi.

The hike means customers will now be buying electricity at K108.63 per kilowatt per hour (kWh) from an average of K104.46 per kWh.

MERA consumer affairs and public relations manager Fitina Khonje told Nation Newspaper that the electricity supplier was supposed to be allowed to increase tariff by 10 percent based on the four-year ESCOM Base Tariff Schedule.

“However, Mera conducted an assessment and based on the utility’s performance against key performance indicators, ESCOM qualified for four percent instead of 10 percent,” she said.

ESCOM, which is struggling to find solutions to the prolonged blackouts Malawians are experiencing, refused to comment on the hike saying MERA is responsible for tariff issues.

However, the Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito said the hike is confusing because ESCOM is being rewarded for poor performance as evidenced by the daily blackouts across the country.

“No one expected a reward, we all know that ESCOM has failed to meet the agreed key performance indicators,” he said.

In March last year, MERA and ESCOM also implemented a 10.62% electricity tariff increase.

The continued increase in electricity tariff comes as Malawians are already facing economic hardships exacerbated by the recent 25 percent devaluation of the Kwacha. Prices of various basic commodities such as cooking oil, soap, sugar and maize have gone up over the past weeks.

 

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