Wednesday, February 28

ESCOM Loadshedding Irks Parliament

Parliament has adopted a report of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts which has exposed the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi’s unsatisfactory performance in executing its mandate to the public.

PAC’s Chairperson, Mark Botomani, disclosed this in the August House, during the presentation of ‘A Performance Audit Report on The Distribution Of Electricity In Malawi By Electricity Supply Corporation Of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited’

The report uncovers gross disregard of expected operating standards by the corporation in the period under review (2011 -2016).

“The Customer Services Charter of ESCOM provides that ESCOM should provide new service connection within 30 days from the date of payment for service cable connection and a meter. Similarly, the Charter provides that ESCOM should provide a new service connection within 60 days from the date a customer has paid for a job requiring service cable connection to the premises not more than 10 poles and a meter.

“Contrary to this, according to the revelations as contained in the performance audit report, ESCOM took more than the standard connection timelines of 30 and 60 days to connect to customers. The Committee was saddened to note that on average,
ESCOM took 352 days to connect a customer after payment had been made.

“What was more disheartening was that the trend analysis showed an increase in the number of days as the years went by. For example, whereas the average connection period in 2012 was 400 days, the number of days increased to 485 in 2014. The
The committee observed that such trends continued in the later years up to 2017,” reads the report in part.

On its part, ESCOM informed the committee that there had been no replacement of old operational vehicles over the years such that the existing fleet was old and not reliable. Furthermore, the distribution of materials mainly relied on temporary labourers for its operations due to delays in recruitment.

The Committee observed that in as much as the 30 and 60 days connection periods were unrealistic, there were several inefficiencies in the performance of ESCOM that needed to be addressed to reduce the waiting period of a customer.

The Committee also wondered why ESCOM failed to impose penalty measures on poorly performing contractors who did not adhere to contract terms and conditions and delayed to deliver materials on time leading to delayed connection of customers.

General debate on the committee report will be done next week.

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