Revised Electricity Act to curb vandalism—Matola

Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola says the passing of the Electricity Act (Amendment) Bill is a milestone as it will help Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Limited effectively counter vandalism and protect its assets.

He said this on Saturday when he graced an anti-vandalism campaign that Escom held at Mangochi Stadium.

The minister said the Bill, which Parliament passed last week, paves the way for stiffer punishments for convicts of vandalism.

Said Matola: “Parliament has passed the Bill which now awaits the President to assent to it. I hope the President will assent to it. We cannot go on like this. We need stiffer punishment for the vandals.”

He described vandalism of Escom assets such as transformers, oil, conductors, stay wires, and poles as tantamount to economic sabotage, saying the vice undermines the government’s efforts to ensure that the manufacturing industry has access to enough electricity to aid production.

Reacting to the passing of the Bill, Escom chief public relations officer Kitty Chingota agreed with the minister, saying the amendment of the Act would complement the power utility company’s efforts to curb vandalism.

Section 45 (1) of the amended Act reads: “A person who carries on in any manner an activity for the supply of electricity in contravention of this Act, or fails to carry out any order or decision of the Authority or a licensee made or given under this Act, commits an offence and is, upon conviction, liable to a fine of K100 million and imprisonment for 20 years.”

Section 45 (2a and 2b) adds that any person “who connects electricity to premises without written authorisation of the licensee or disturbs or tampers with any electricity meter or other measuring instrument or apparatus commits an offence and is, upon conviction, liable to a fine of K100 million and imprisonment for ten years.”

In Section 45 (4) the amendment provides a non-fineable penalty of 30 years imprisonment for vandalism and possession of equipment stolen from a licensee, the section reads: (a) if found in possession of equipment stolen from a licensee; or (b) damages, destroys, or vandalises any electricity installation equipment or apparatus, commits an offence and is, upon conviction, liable to imprisonment for 30 years

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