Alleged unconscionable conduct by Blantyre Water Board

The Commission ordered Blantyre Water Board to refund all their consumers for the excess billing incurred in the months of August and September 2017. This followed an investigation by the Commission ensuing from a complaint by Patrick Kalimbuka which showed that Blantyre Water Board had raised water tariffs without informing the consumers. The increases were on meter rental from MK582.50 to MK1165.00 representing 100% increase; meter reading charge from MK349.50 to MK932.00 representing 167% increase Tariff bands have also been raised from MK1909.25 to MK2195.64 representing 15% increase.

Additionally, the investigation showed that following the Commission’s intervention, BWB reversed the increased tariffs. The Commission’s analysis of utility bills for water accounts supplied by the Complainant showed that the revised tariffs were in force for two months namely August and September 2017; and not one month as claimed by Blantyre Water Board. The Commission determined that Blantyre Water Board’s conduct was a clear contravention of section 43 (1) (g) of the CFTA which prohibits traders from engaging in unconscionable conduct to consumers. The Commission advised Blantyre Water Board to issue credit notes for two months and not one month; and ordered them to cease and desist from raising tariffs without prior notification to consumers.