The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited (ESCOM) has recovered K15 million from illegal electricity connections in the past two weeks, it has been confirmed.
Escom has recovered the money through penalties imposed on those involved in illegal electricity connection.
Escom Public Relations Manager, Innocent Chitosi said an investigation team found illegal connections dating back to two years.
“We conducted a disconnection campaign where our investigation team went around the town and discovered that some people in the city were engaged in illegal electricity connection and meter bypassing. They were not paying for the electricity consumed.
“Most of them were doing this for a period of about two years and it is a syndicate. Some of our staff were also involved in the illegal connections. We have managed to get about K15 million from the exercise,” explained Chitose.
However, some of those accused of connecting electricity to their property illegally have cried foul, saying the penalty was hefty.
“My business came to a standstill since ESCOM cut power supply. No sales for me. They charged me K526, 000 as a penalty; they jammed my meter for seven days. So far, I have paid K300, 000, and remaining a K226, 000 balance,” said Ken Nkhoma.
Memory Somba, a shareholder of Togoland Rest house owes Escom K426, 000 in penalties for the illegal power connection.
“What happened was that they found us using electricity when we did not have units. I must say, we have learned a lesson, we are being punished. This is wrong. We now have burdened ourselves; the money we are paying to Escom is a lot. We could have used it for other important things for our household,” said Somba.
Boston Missi, a businessman owes Escom K1.1 million. He complained the money is a lot and that his business has crumbled since Escom disconnected power supply to his shops.