Barely a month after the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Limited was granted a go ahead to raise its electricity tariff hike by 13.5 percent; Malawi News has established that it has hired 27 vehicles from a car rental firm for up to two years.
Escom public relations officer, George Mituka said the corporation hired most of the vehicles before the recent tariff adjustment.
He said the tariff hike is for investment while the vehicles are for operations.
“We sometimes hire vehicles only for specific projects which needs a sizeable fleet to achieve a specific goal within a specific timeframe,” he said.
Mituka explained that presently Escom has hired 27vehicles in use and that 25 of which are for the current customer verification project
He said these vehicles were hired at different times according to requirement and therefore it is not possible to say they have been hired for a particular period.
An official from Avis Car Hire explained that hiring a car a day costs K15, 400; K155 per kilometre upon calculating mileage; K4, 000 insurance per day and the total amount includes value added tax.
Mituka also said cannot tell when the vehicles will also be off hired at different times.
“Unless if we should list down individual vehicles,” he said.
The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) announced at the end of October this year that customers will be paying K41 per unit kilowatt from K35.69 from November 2 following the tariffs adjustment.
The regulator stated that this was as a result of performance assessment of Escom that reviewed the targets the company was given as a precondition before an earlier proposed adjustment of 18.39 percent.
Mera Chief Executive Officer Dingiswayo Jere said in an interview that Escom was only managing to meet about 75 percent of the targets and could only allow the sole power producer to effect a 13.73 percent instead of the 18.39 percent.
“Mera will continue to monitor Escom’s performance on the agreed performance indicators to ensure continued improved performance by Escom and that electricity consumers get value for money,” said Jere.
Last year Mera granted Escom a 37.28 percent tariff hike, to be implemented gradually over the three year period until 2017.
Consumer Association of Malawi executive director, John Kapito described the tariffs increase as shocking coming at a time when the issues they had raised when Escom submitted its application for tariffs hike was quite genuine and understood by every consumer.
Kapito said during that time and now Escom has failed to meet all the key performance indicators that were agreed between Mera on behalf of the public and Escom.