CDEDI demands disciplinary action on ESCOM for defying MERA’s advice not to increase electricity tariff

The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has demanded a disciplinary action against Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESOM) management for increasing electricity tariffs without authorization from the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA).

MERA told the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources last week that ESCOM acted against its advice not to raise the tariffs in March 2021.

The development angered members of Parliament (MPs) who wondered how the electricity supplier could make unilateral decision on the tariff.

On the other hand, CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa demanded that MERA should take a disciplinary action against ESCOM management over what he described as “this embarrassing incident”.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Namiwa further demanded a reversal of the illegal tariffs and workout a mechanism to ensure that the consumers have been refunded their money.

“CDEDI finds this news very disturbing as it is illegal for ESCOM to make unilateral decisions. We are, on the other hand, surprised with the statements from MERA indicating that the regulatory body advised ESCOM not to put into effect the newly adjusted electricity tariffs,” he said.

Namiwa: wants to see action at MERA, ESCOM

He claimed that CDEDI made inquiries from MERA to give details about this directive to ESCOM, but to no avail.

Namiwa said they are inclined to believe that the Tonse Alliance government is remotely controlling MERA to push the blame on ESCOM following a backlash from the public over exorbitant charges, tariffs and levies on essential services and products such as water, electricity, fuel and cooking oil, among others.

“Malawians of goodwill may wish to recall that on 21st April, 2021, CDEDI led the country in nationwide peaceful demonstrations against these insulting tariffs and charges on essential goods and services, which are hurting the poor and the marginalized. It is high time the Tonse Alliance Government started taking responsibility for some of the administration’s mistakes, and not pushing the blame on individuals or institutions, as witnessed by this blame game between MERA and ESCOM,” said Namiwa.

He alleged that President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera is fast becoming champion of the blame game while taking credit for all the positives he claims his government has recorded under his leadership.

He cited the recent fuel saga at National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) where Chakwera blamed some people he claimed were sabotaging the current administration.

“He blamed the civil service for the MK6.2 billion Covid-19 scandal; he blamed the Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima for delaying the assessment report for cabinet ministers, which has reportedly delayed the much-touted cabinet reshuffle; and the list goes on. CDEDI is reminding President Chakwera that Malawians are currently struggling to make ends meet due to among other things, the high cost of living, which is as a result of high cost of essential commodities and services such as water, electricity, cooking oil, fuel, mobile phone charges, etc. The recent revelations at MERA and ESCOM are a clear manifestation that the country either ushered into office a President who is failing to firmly hold the reins of power due to his indecisiveness on matters of national importance, or a government which has total disregard for the plight of the poor and the marginalized people in society, or both,” said Namiwa.

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