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Water boards owe Escom K3 billion

The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has disclosed that the country’s water boards owe it over K3.2 billion in outstanding electricity bills accumulated up to July this year.

However, despite the intermittent power outages, Escom has registered a pre-tax profit of K14.6 billion during the 2015 to 2016 financial year as opposed to six years ago when the corporation registered an operational loss of K983 million.

The utility power provider’s Director of Finance, Betty Mahuka, revealed this on Tuesday in Mangochi when she presented Escom’s financial performance report during a fifth Semi-Annual Review forum for Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) $350 million United States Government-funded compact aimed at revamping the energy sector.

While expressing satisfaction with results of the MCC funded reforms, Mahuka said the corporation is crippled due to huge debts which government departments and other statutory corporations owe it, which she said can help the corporations operations if collected.

“As of July this year, the country’s water boards owe Escom a total of K3.234 billion and it is very unfortunate that we cannot disconnect them due to the nature of their business,” Mahuka said.

She, however, expressed hope that the recent increase in water tariffs will enable the water boards to service their electricity utility bills.

On a larger picture, Mahuka lauded the migration of domestic and general phase customers from post-paid to pre-paid as having improved the general outlook of the corporation’s financial stand, saying the initiative has managed to reduce debtor days from 75 recorded in the year 2010 to 73 as of July 2016.

Among other things, the corporation also hopes that the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) will nod to the need to continue reviewing electricity tariffs which it says are not yet reflective of the costs incurred when generating and transmitting electricity to customers.

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