Electricity users plan demos over Escom’s poor services

A group calling themselves concerned consumers of the Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (Escom)  has warned of nationwide demonstrations over the parastatal’s “insensitivity to customer’s needs” among others.

The concerned electricity users also observe that the load-shedding programme has deteriorated to intolerable levels, thereby affecting the economy in light of the government’s touted Economic Recovery Plan (ERP).

“We recognise the challenges that Escom has been facing due to issues of inadequate capacity. However, we are perturbed by recent developments that point to Escom’s insensitivity to customer’s needs. We cite for example the recent donation of K35 million to the Presidential Initiative on Safe Motherhood as well as the purchase of vehicles worth K1.4 billion.

“While we recognize that Escom has to support initiatives that support the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the timing of both these expenditures was ill-timed and misplaced,” says one of the concerned Malawians, Billy Mayaya, who is also a human rights activist.

Mayaya: Nationwide protests in the offing

Mayaya: Nationwide protests in the offing

Mayaya says Escom made the donation to distract the public from raising questions about the failure by the parastatal to improve its services to the general public by their core operations.

“We are of the view that CSR is an excuse for Escom to abdicate its role as a service provider to the public and again favours from the government as a means of masking its current underperformance.

“This is adding value to Escom’s core mandate in serving the interests of long suffering consumers,” says Mayaya.

He also claims that, as consumers, they are also concerned with instances of bills with inconsistent amounts, “being served upon us, when in fact the massive load-shedding would have indicated otherwise.”

“We are concerned with the raising of tariffs without corespondent improvement in service delivery.”

He disclosed that they are setting up district and regional chapters which will be directly forwarding complaints to Escom satellite office.

“We expect to see incremental progress towards serving the energy needs of all customers as opposed to the sudden retrogression that is impeding the progress of Malawi’s economy as well as the welfare of tax paying citizens.

“In the event that we do not see progress, and as a last resort, we shall have no option but register our dismay through peaceful nationwide demonstrations,” says Mayaya in an open letter to Escom.

There was no immediate reaction from Escom on the matter.

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