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Financial gaps affecting electricity connectivity

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The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has attributed delays in making new electricity connection in some areas to financing gaps.

Addressing journalists on Thursday, Escom Senior Manager for Commercial and Customer Services Wiseman Kabwazi also attributed the challenge to glaring disparity between the cost incurred and fees connection.

Figures he presented show that, while connection charges vary in urban and rural areas, consumers pay about K93, 200 to get new connection and, yet it costs the firm about K282, 000 to render the service.

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Kabwazi said the reduction is for single phase connections in which new customers pay for a standard connection fees but Escom has to beef up the gap through tariffs.

Kabwazi added that the idea of charging lower is to make the connection affordable and connect more customers but there have been challenges because the tariff is not adequate enough to fill the financing gap.

“It is that financing gap that has been a major challenge for Escom to meet the financing requirements in the connection of a customer and we need to work on it because it is huge for Escom to bear,” he said.

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Energy expert Gran Malunga said if the subsidy were not working, then it should be removed unless there is someone to pay for it.

“They should look at their operations as a business and not charity; therefore, whoever brought that subsidy should fund it—otherwise it should be removed from their operations,” he said.

Escom has 45,196 outstanding connection applications from potential customers across the country.

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