General News of Tuesday, 15 December 2015
A meeting between the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) and Organised Labour to discuss the suspension or reduction of the new utility tariffs has ended in a deadlock.
The meeting followed disagreement of organized labour over the tariffs hikes.
PURC on Monday, December 7, announced an upward adjustment of utility tariffs with consumers required to pay 59.2 per cent more for electricity and 67.2 per cent for water with effect from December 14, 2015.
In its petition to the PURC on Monday, Organised Labour called for the suspension of the tariffs until the power supply had been stabilised.
It also called on PURC to bring to task the utility companies in order to reduce their technical and operational inefficiencies.
Mr Kofi Asamoah, the Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress, who presented the petition, said despite the fact that the meeting ended in a deadlock, the demands of organized labour still stands.
He said the PURC should have considered the availability and reliability of power before the upward adjustments.
Organised Labour also said many Ghanaians doubted that the increases would solve the power rationing situation as the providers would like the general public to believe.
“As workers, we are worried about the ever-increasing utility tariffs which do not match our incomes. We are also worried about the poor macro-economic performance and the technical and operational inefficiencies of the utility companies which have contributed greatly to the frequent hikes in tariffs”, he said.
Dr Emmanuel Annan, Chairman of PURC, said the new tariffs had already taken effect from December 14, after it had been gazetted in line with the law.
The PURC, before announcing the new tariffs, had organised a public fora throughout the country to seek the views of the public on the proposals submitted by the utility companies for a review of tariffs.
Mr Samuel Sarpong, the Executive Secretary of the PURC, said the Commission had followed due process in arriving at the increases.
He said the tariffs were supposed to have taken effect from October 1, but consultations with stakeholders delayed the process, hence the December 14 implementation period.
“In arriving at the tariffs, the law says the interest of the consumer and the provider ought to be considered and that is exactly what we have done; and we followed all procedures,” Mr Sarpong said.