The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has issued a stern warning to illegal electrical installers and electricity pipeline encroachers to refrain from the illegal practice or risk facing the arm of the law.
Mera acting chief executive officer Eliasi Hausi issued the warning on Tuesday in Blantyre during a sensitisation workshop on electoral installations with various stakeholders including the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), Consumer Association of Malawi (Cama), Blantyre City Council (BCC) and Renewable Energy and Electrical Installers.
Hausi said there is need to curb the malpractice to preserve people’s lives and property which are endangered when unlicensed installers wire buildings.
“We are aware that there are illegal electrical installers. As Mera, we have called for this meeting so that we can address this challenge together,” he said.
Hausi also said the authority is aware of the doings of some scrupulous electricity pipeline encroachers who are using substandard equipment and structures when executing their jobs.
“The challenge that we are facing now is that electricity is being connected to areas not meant for residential property. These areas are mostly under high voltage lines and as an authority, we are limited because it is the city council that allocates land and Escom only connects when a client brings the right documents from the council,” he said.
He further explained that Mera has various channels through which people can acquire information on which gadgets are safe to use so as to avoid investors wasting their money on short-life gadgets.
While acknowledging the malpractice, Escom senior construction engineer for Blantyre Zone, Christopher Kapito, blamed the problem on system failure.
“We only get applications for electricity connection from clients after they have finished construction works, and the applications have to contain an original seal of the registered electrical installer,” he said.
“We have many applications at our office that are yet to be attended to just because they did not engage the services of a licensed constructor. The challenge now is for the contractors to form their own forum where issues like these can be discussed,” said Kapito.
Chairperson for the Electrical Contractors Association of Malawi, Southern Region chapter, LivingstoniaMagombo, expressed concern over the malpractice which he says is killing a lot of businesses in the industry.
He called for the persecution of the dubious installers, saying it will help curb the malpractice.