Consumers fault Escom on prepaid meter deductions
Electricity consumers in the country, who are being migrated into pre-paid meter system, have faulted Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) over the 90 percent deductions on the new meters.
Escom embarked on a countrywide meter migration of its customers from postpaid to prepaid meters.
However, Escom has justified the deductions saying they would not want to put their customers in darkness during the exercise.
One of the customers Lackson Million said the new system is very inconveniencing.
He said when the new meter is installed; Escom leaves units to cater for lighting only for that particular day.
“When we purchase units for prepaid meters they are deducting 90 percent of the money. For instance when you buy K4,000 worth of units they leave K200 which is unfair,” he said.
Another customer Joseph Phiri said Escom could have consulted the consumers first before embarking on the project.
“This is their project and as consumers we were not consulted on the deductions. They just came to our houses and removed postpaid meters replacing them with prepaid meters and they started deducting the 90 percent, which we feel is unfair,” said Phiri.
But Escom Public Relations Manager, Kitty Chingota, said the deduction is the best option for the customers as they still be getting supply despite having outstanding bills.
“When we were migrating from postpaid to prepaid, we thought the best way is not to disconnect customers having outstanding bills as we used to, but to continue supplying them with electricity. We are therefore deducting from the payments they are making. This is just to allow them to continue having supply but basically we were supposed to be disconnecting,” she explained.
“Our condition as Escom is that when we supply electricity to customers, they are supposed to settle their bill within 30 days, failing which Escom disconnects the service. A customer is only reconnected after paying full payment of the outstanding bill and this system therefore is the best option to the customers as they are still having supply while having outstanding bills,” said Chingota.