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Further delays for free electricity connection

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Williams Banda

Malawians would have to wait a little longer for free electricity connections which the Tonse Alliance promised as the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) awaits funding.

This is because there is no allocation for the cause in the 2020-21 National Budget.

During the campaign trail to 2020 fresh presidential election which saw the Tonse Alliance being ushered into power, the alliance promised that Malawians would have free electricity connection.

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But speaking recently at an interface with journalists, Escom Senior Manager for Commercial and Customer Services Wiseman Kabwazi said the corporation was yet to receive funding from the government for the cause.

“Escom is a limited liability company which should generate enough revenue to sustain its operations and the free connections concept is a government project. Therefore government will fund it,” he said.

Escom has 45,196 outstanding connection applications from potential customers across the country, which the electricity distributor says are delaying because of lack of finances.

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Currently, a single phase connection costs K282, 000 but a customer pays K93,200 while Escom foots K186,800 under its current subsidy project.

An energy expert from Mzuzu University Maxon Chitawo doubts the possibility of free electricity connections.

He instead recommended subsidising the electricity connection fee but with a strong financial back-up to iron out delays in connections by the electricity distributor.

Treasury spokesperson Williams Banda said the government has a mechanism for sustainable financing of applications eligible for free connections but could not divulge details.

“Government has come up with a Green Connection Policy which will be effected once all vetting processes are finalised,” he said.

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