The proposed 69.7 percent new electricity tariff adjustment by ESCOM is facing criticism from stakeholders.
During a public organised by Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority – MERA in Blantyre and Lilongwe on Monday and Wednesday respectively, many participants who included consumers and investors spoke against the decision.
Consumers Association of Malawi-CAMA executive director John Kapito stressed that the hike is not justifiable looking at the socio-economic challenges facing Malawians at the moment.
“What is ESCOM demanding for when they have failed to perform in the past? Malawians are currently struggling in many sectors and increasing the electricity tariff will be an insult to them.” Kapito weighed in his views.
Also commenting on the development, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry – MCCCI is protesting the proposed tariff hike.
MCCCI chief executive officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira is pushing for a forty percent increase instead of the seventy percent adjustment.
He said; “there may be adjustments as we go along depending on changes in the fundamentals and 10 percent real increase it’s a big one. What that means is that it is an added cost to the production in the industry. ”
Commenting on the development however, ESCOM chief operations officer Maxwell Mulimakwenda justified the proposed hike arguing that it will be necessary to perfect their operations as well as pay power generators.
“In our role as a single buyer, we make these applications on behalf of all electricity industry. So, we combine costs for generators like Egenco, IPPs, MERA levy and MAREP levy hence coming up with the 69.7 percent proposal. We believe with this increase we will be able to effectively serve the citizenry,” he justified.
Meanwhile, MERA chief executive officer Henry Kachaje says the regulator will still engage people in all the regions before settling for a better decision.
He said; “when the public give their views we will take into account their contributions then sit down with ESCOM and where we see that it is feasible we are going to tell them if it is necessary for the adjustment.”