By Robert Kumwenda
Government has said the increase in electric tariff which Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM) wants to put into effect by the end of this month to the year 2022 will increase competition and which in the end will reduce the electric tariff as there will be more companies to distribute power to consumers.
Joseph Kalowekamo Director of Energy in the Ministry of Natural Resources Energy and Mining (MNREM) said this Monday at the public hearing on the review of the 2018-2022 ESCOM base tariff application.
He said the power industry has been liberalized and the balls is on players not ESCOM saying that to attract the private sector to take part in the electricity industry there is need to adjust the tariff and per as the law requires.
But Consumer rights activists John Kapito said the raising of electric tariff is not required now as ESCOM has no product (Electricity).
He said consumers have not benefited anything from the raising of electric tariff which government has effected in the last four years.
“People will laugh at us when they hear that we gathered here with purpose of raising the electric tariff when the product is not available. It should have been better if we have looked at the challenges we have in the past and how we can improve to make sure that power is available before we start of taking of this issue of raising the tariff,” he said.
Kapito said according the interviews they conducted country wide people are not worried with the raising of the electric tariff but power availability which is a great challenge for ESCOM s of to date.
“The more we increase the tariffs we are going to kill people at ESCOM because of too much corruption. We have never invested our money to improve on electricity and I find this meeting to be stupid which we must not attend to,” he said.
He said the board of ESCOM must be restructured and replaced with and independent governance structure whose membership will be appointed by independent individuals.