General News of Monday, 7 December 2015
A member of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has described the utility hikes as President John Mahama’s Christmas gift to Ghanaians.
“Trust president Mahama to give a generous Christmas gift to Ghanaians! Electricity, Water bills up by 59.2% and 67.2%,” he said in a tweet.
The founder of the Danquah Institute (DI) added that in no other society would government get away with this.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) announced the new tariffs for water and electricity Monday December 2015, 2015.
Consumers will be paying 69.2 per cent more for electricity and 67.2 per cent more for water.
The tariff adjustments follow a road show by the PURC to collate views from Ghanaians about how much they were willing to pay for power and water supply.
The utility companies proposed more than 100 per cent increment in tariffs for 2015. Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) demanded a 124 per cent increase in its tariff from GH¢1.78 for 120 gallons of water (5 barrels) to GH¢4.
The ECG, VRA, and GRIDCo sought 101 per cent, 108 per cent and 31.26 per cent increments respectively.
According to the utility companies, the major increment was needed to alleviate the impact of the high cost of production as well as help to improve production.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) earlier kicked against proposals by the utility companies to increase tariffs.
Rather, they asked the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to compel them to reduce their technical and operational inefficiencies, as the condition for tariff review.
While the TUC said consumers were paying heavily for the poor macro-economic performance and operational inefficiencies of the utility companies, the AGI said there had been no improvement in the efficiency of electricity and water supply to warrant the proposed upward review.
A statement addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of the PURC signed by the acting Secretary-General of the TUC, Dr Yaw Baah, a few weeks ago said: “Given the circumstances in which we find ourselves today, economically, socially and politically, we do not think that this is the time for a major tariff review.”
The letter was a follow-up to a forum organised by the PURC for leaders of organised labour in Accra last month on the tariff increment where they were taken through the power situation in the country.
It stated that consumers, including organised labour, reject the proposed tariffs by the utility companies on the grounds that they lack merit, especially in this period of power crisis and limited access to potable water.
At the annual general meeting of the Accra branch of the AGI held in Accra yesterday, the President of the AGI, Mr James Asare-Adjei, said the proposed tariff review by the Volta River Authority (VRA), the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) “comes at a time that prospects for energy supply for the rest of the year still remain uncertain.”