By Peter Kanjere
There was a huge turnout in Blantyre on September 25 2023 when Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited rolled out the new Maximum Demand (MD) Tariff Structure Sensitisation meetings.
The first in the series of the regional meetings attracted over 100 MD customers who thronged Sunbird Mount Soche to understand the new 2023-2027 tariff structure and resultant changes in billing.
In his speech opening the meeting, ESCOM Regional Manager-South, Gilbert Chodzaza, said they organised the gathering in view of Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA)’s approval of the Elecricity Fourth Base Tariff.
“The Industrial Customers are the ones who generate high revenues for ESCOM and as such, you are very important to us hence this meeting. As ESCOM, it is our wish that we should always offer you high quality service,” said Chodzadza in his capacity as the stand-in Director of Distribution and Customer Services.
ESCOM Commercial Services Engineer James Tsumba and Senior Marketing and Business Development Officer Chifundo Kameko made presentations which focused on enlightening the gathering on key Tariff issues, MD charges and Electricity Bill Management Opportunities.
Thereafter, Tsumba, Kameko, ESCOM Acting Financial Controller-Revenue James Chipungu, Chief Accountant-Revenue Godfrey Kujingo and Revenue Protection Manager Douglas Kamanga entertained questions from the customers.
Most of the industry captains asked for ESCOM’s consideration on capacity charges for companies that are into seasonal manufacturing and production.
The MD customers were drawn from companies such as Cement Products Limited, Malawi Institute of Education, Arkay Plastics Limited, Nampak Limited, Suncrest Limited, Presscane, Mapeto DW, Eastern Produce Limited, Leopard Matches Limited, Easy Pack Limited, Chibuku Products Limited, Blantyre Water Board Limited, Sun ‘n’ Sand, Protea Hotels, Catholic University, Sable Farming, Floride Cement Limited, Castel Limited, Illovo Sugar Limited, Sunbird Mount Soche and Mwaiwathu Private Hospital.
The meetings follow MERA’s approval of a 18 percent tariff adjustment for the initial year of the 2023-27 Base Tariff, which came into effect on September 1, 2023. Overall, MERA approved a 50.8 percent tariff adjustment spread over the next four years.
Highlights of the 2023-2027 tariff structure is the introduction of a Special Agriculture Tariff to support smallholder irrigation farming and cooperatives involved in agro-processing. This tariff category does not have fixed, capacity based charges.
The new tariff has also seen a reduction in the level of cross-subsidization to other customer categories to reduce overall electricity cost burden for industries.
There is 18 percent reduction in capacity charges for MD customers in response to concerns from industry players over the impact of fixed charges especially during the period of low or no production.
Similar meetings will take place in Lilongwe on September 27 and in Mzuzu on September 30, 2023.