The Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has reacted angrily to a statement b y Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) which forewarns consumers to brace for tough times ahead as blackouts will worsen in the next five months.
Cama Executive Director John Kapito has since asked government to fire Escom management for gross incompetence and for continuing to take Malawians for granted, as well as draining tax-payers money through bail outs.
In the statement released yesterday, Escom states that coupled with the already existing insufficient power supply, the situation has further been compounded by reduced water levels in both Lake Malawi and Shire River.
Reads the statement in part: “Customers may wish to note that the situation is arising as a result of low rainfall in the past season which is attributed to climate change. This is a reality which is not reversible at the moment and is likely to worsen in the next four to five months,”
Escom also argues in the statement that in the current scenario, if power stations (Nkula, Tedzani and Kapichila) are left to run at full capacity, it would lead to depletion of water storage pond levels, a situation Escom believes is not desirable for sustained operations.
But in an interview, Kapito questioned as to whether there is any planning at all done by Escom management.
“This is rubbish. You mean these guys at Escom are surprised just like you and me that water levels have gone down? They had all the time to plan. They need to have done a forecast to know that with climate change things would be different in the next 10 years. Let government fire the whole management today, not tomorrow,” charged Kapito.
The outspoken activist added that the team at the power utility is in the wrong business as demonstrated by lack of vision and planning.
Said Kapito: “They have been busy spending billions of kwacha on maintenance works to improve on capacity instead of focusing on devastating effects of climate change and how that would impact on power generation. Today they want the consumer to pay for their blind sight”?
The Cama boss further suggested that Escom should now start paying back to consumers each time there is a blackout as per service charter.
“The service charter is very clear. Let them credit our accounts each time they have failed to deliver. We have forgiven them enough. We are demanding the best and nothing less from Escom. No more taking us, consumers, for a ride,: he said.
Director of Lizulu Timbers in Lilongwe Michael Mbewe also concurred with Kapito saying his company is, each time there is a blackout, forced to pay back customers millions for failing to deliver on a job.
“Mind you, this is after MRA has already deducted its money, as business people we can’t claim that money back from MRA, we are losing out because at the end of the month we still have to pay our workers regardless of whether they worked or not,” said Mbewe.
Escom Public Relations Manager Kitty Chingota refused to entertain any questions when The Daily Times sought her comments.
She referred all questions to Public Relations Officer George Mituka who also demanded a questionnaire.
However, as we went to press, the questionnaire was yet to be responded to.