TID Project first phase a success—ESCOM Limited COO

By Cosmas Kaunga, ESCOM Outreach Officer

Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited Chief Operations Officer (COO), Mr Maxwell Mulimakwenda, says the first phase of the Token Identifier (TID) Project has been successful after upgrading 40 percent of the targeted electricity meters.

Mulimakwenda said this on Friday, November 24 2023, in Lilongwe where the power utility company organized a tour for the media in Areas 36 and 47, to appreciate the progress of the project.

He said 214,000 prepaid meters have been upgraded in all the cities of the country, with 80,000 completed in Blantyre, 82,000 for Lilongwe, 17,000 in Zomba and 35,000 (Mzuzu), representing 40 percent project progress.

Mulimakwenda said the project, which started on June 1 2023, focuses on upgrading the software in customers’ prepaid meters, in accordance with international requirements for transfer of prepaid units.

“The project started in Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu [concurrently]. We are now winding up [the first phase] in the four cities and soon, we will roll-out the second phase in the districts,” he said.

Mulimakwenda said the first phase had some challenges which affected the smooth running of the project.

“We could sometimes find customers’ premises locked and, in this case, we could not carry out the meter upgrade process. This delayed us because it meant coming back to the same premises to do the upgrade instead of moving forward,” he said.

“We, however, intensified awareness programmes to ensure that our customers understand the importance of the project and, therefore, assign a family member to stay at home when we announce the programme for their area to ensure their meter is upgraded,” he said.

The COO urged customers to take the project seriously, as failure to have their meters upgraded will lead to failure to load units after the cut-off point of November 24 2024.

“Our customers who might have been skipped in the cities should, therefore, quickly contact us through designated contact numbers, our customer service offices and a WhatsApp chatbot that we have just introduced specially for TID Project so that we rollover their meters,” he said.

Area 36 resident Ethel Musopole, whose meter was rolled over, said at the beginning of TID, social media was full of misconceptions about the project.

“We heard that after the meter upgrade, our meter will increase consumption of electricity units. But since our meter was upgraded, the consumption did not change,” she said.

Mcleod Chimpala, another customer who operates a maize mill in Lilongwe, said he appreciated the need of having his electricity meter upgraded, hence, he welcomed the initiative.

“I did not want to experience a situation whereby customers come and are unable to mill because we are failing to load units,” he said.

Chimpala, therefore, encouraged other customers to embrace the project to avoid any inconvenience next year.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of June 2024, four months ahead of the TID cut-off point which is 24th November 2024.

ESCOM Limited has dedicated helplines for TID Project:

Southern Region: 0889764780

Central Region: 0885730425

Northern Region: 0884932455

Eastern Region: 0889641153

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