Public utility body, the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) has confessed that it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to offer new connections to customers saying there is a glaring disparity between what the latter pay and the cost the company incurs in making the same.
ESCOM Senior Manager for Commercial and Customer Services, Wiseman Kabwazi, mentioned on Thursday that while connection charges vary in urban and rural areas, consumers pay about K93, 200 to get new connection and yet it costs the firm about K282, 000 to render the service.
“This scenario is contributing to delays in making new electricity in some areas as a result of the financial gaps. The reduction is for single phase connections in which new customers pay for a standard connection fee but ESCOM has to beef up the gap through tariffs,” Kabwazi told journalists in a press briefing.
According to Kabwazi, the idea of charging lower is to make the connection affordable and connect more customers but there have been challenges because the tariff is not adequate enough to fill the financing gap.
“It is that financing gap that has been a major challenge for ESCOM to meet the financing requirements in the connection of a customer and we need to work on it because it is huge for ESCOM to bear,” he said.
But energy expert, Grain Malunga, said if the subsidy was not working, then it needed to be removed unless there is someone to pay for it.
“They should look at their operations as a business and not charity; therefore, whoever brought that subsidy should fund it—otherwise it should be removed from their operations,” Malunga is quoted as saying in the local press.
ESCOM has 45,196 outstanding connection applications from potential customers across the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :