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Escom reviews tariff hike request

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John Kapito

State-run Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has restarted the application process for its proposed electricity tariff hike.

This comes after the dissolution of Power Market Limited (PML) a few weeks ago and the subsequent transferring of the single buyer licence to the sole power supplier.

In August last year, Escom and the defunct PML proposed a 99 percent electricity tariffs increase for the period 2022 to 2026.

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But earlier this month, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) asked Escom to revise the application. The process was at the fifth stage of public hearings.

But in an interview, Escom Public Relations Manager Kitty Chingota hinted that the utility company expects the power tariff hike to be lower than the earlier proposed.

She said the power distributor has since commenced the review process but could not tell when it will be submitted to Mera for consideration.

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“The delay in approving the tariffs is negatively impacting us. As you know, there was a currency devaluation mid last year of 25 percent and fuel prices increased as well but Escom has not been compensated,” Chingota said.

The Energy Act gives a provision for tariff increase every four years in Malawi.

Under the 2022-26 Electricity Base Tariff Application, the proposal was to have the electricity tariffs hiked by 80.75 percent in the first year of implementation alone.

In the year 2023-24, the utility firms proposed a K184.18 per kWh hike whereas in the 2024-25 and 2025-26 year, the firms wanted a K210.59 per kWh and K249.15 per kWh increase.

However, the proposal faced a backlash, with some sections of the society describing it as unreasonable.

Consumers Association of Malawi Executive Director John Kapito, for instance, said Escom was not justified to increase its electricity tariffs until it improves its service delivery.

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