By Alick Junior Sichali
BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-The Executive Director for Consumers Association of Malawi, {CAMA}, John Kapito has described the proposal of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) to raise power tariffs with 60 percent as stupid.
Kapito has said this as the country’s energy regulator, Mera is holding public consultations to hear the views of other stakeholders on the proposed tariff increment.
The Executive Director of Cama said Escom consumers cannot pay more for electricity in the country because people are spending most of their days in blackouts due to the load shedding.
“You cannot raise a product which you don’t have, even if you go on the streets and ask the views of the consumers on the matter they will tell you that they cannot pay much for the product they don’t have yet,” Kapito said.
According to Kapito instead of the utility body proposing of the electricity tariff it should be thinking of how it can provide best services to Malawians.
Kapito further said if Malawians are having electricity for 24 hours the utility body can even raise the electricity tariffs with a bigger percent than that they proposing and consumers will pay for it.
“They are holding public hearings on electricity hike instead of finding ways they can offer best services to the Malawians thus what I call stupid and I repeat it is stupid to be doing that,”.
“People are complaining of the current persistence blackouts in the country and then they are proposing power tariff hike with 60 percent how can one pay for a product they don’t have I suggest that the meetings they are holding where supposed to be on finding ways to end the blackouts not increasing the tariff,” Kapito explained.
Chief Executive Officer of Escom, Alexon Chiwaya, said the new base tariff once approved will enable the utility body to be offering best customers services to the public.
The CEO of Escom said they have lined up a number of projects which will help to end the current power outages haunting the nation but they will require more money to implement them hence the suggested 60 percent electricity hike.
Chiwaya faulted the previous administration of not investing more in power sector saying this has caused the country to be in the current crisis.
“We are proposing that in our new base tariff there should be a 60 percent hike on electricity, we are proposing this because we have a number of projects which we want to implement and they will require more money,” Chiwaya said.
But Mera’s Chief Executive Officer, Collins Magalasi, says they will make final decision on the proposed tariff increment at the end of these consultations.
Magalasi said the utility body is mandated to submit its base tariff after 4 years.
According to Magalasi the public hearings will enable the country’s energy regulator to make an excellent decision of public interest on the matter.
“We have received the proposed base tariff of Escom and now we are doing public hearings with stakeholders on the issue, these public hearings will enable us to make a decision of public interest at the end of this month,” Magalasi said.
Meanwhile Mera has hold public hearings in Blantyre, Lilongwe and a similar meeting is also expected to take place in Mzuzu.