Community members in Neno, Malawi, have submitted a petition to the headquarters of the Electricity Supply Corporation (ESCOM) in Blantyre, calling for the establishment of a physical ESCOM office in the district.
The petitioners have given ESCOM 14 days to meet their demand, stating that they face significant challenges to access services from the utility body.
Ramsey Msiska, the leader of the community group, narrated the challenges they face in seeking help from ESCOM, “We have written them [ESCOM] that Neno was declared a district more than 16 years ago and as of today all government departments and key services have been fully decentralized to Neno with physically located offices.
“It is becoming very worrisome to continue experiencing the challenges of lacking physical ESCOM office in the district. When we want to process new connection, application forms, payments, etc., we are supposed to visit Mwanza offices which is costly to us. We spend over MK30,000 on transport. This is our unfortunate situation.”
Mark Ngwangwa, the Neno Council chairperson, echoed the concern, highlighting the socioeconomic impact on the district.
“As a council, we have noticed that several services are being disrupted. We have incidents in which some banks pulled off their services because they cannot just manage to run generators when they have faults. We expect ESCOM to assist us,” he said.
The petitioners have argued that Neno’s population and customer base have considerably grown and is still rapidly growing, and the lack of ESCOM offices and services implies that they are being unequally treated as citizens of Malawi. ESCOM is yet to respond to the community’s latest concern.