PURC must reverse “insensitive” utility tariff hikes – CCG



General News of Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Source: Starrfmonline.com

Dr Kwabena Opuni Frimpong CCGGeneral Secretary of CCG, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong

The Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) has called on the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission to reverse the recent utility tariff hikes.

In a statement, the Christian Council said the decision by the PURC, especially in these very difficult economic times where businesses are struggling to thrive, coupled with the current high cost of living and erratic supply of water and electricity is very insensitive, unfortunate and must quickly be reversed.

The Council added: “As a Council, we think it is absolutely unfair for Ghanaians to pay such increment in utility tariffs when we have for the past four years suffered and endured power and water rationing.”

Below is the full statement by the Christian Council of Ghana

The Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) is not happy about the decision by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to increase electricity and water tariffs by 59.2% and 67.2% respectively ahead of the Christmas season.

This decision by the PURC, especially in these very difficult economic times where businesses are struggling to thrive, coupled with the current high cost of living and erratic supply of water and electricity is very insensitive, unfortunate and must quickly be reversed.

As a Council, we think it is absolutely unfair for Ghanaians to pay such increment in utility tariffs when we have for the past four years suffered and endured power and water rationing.

Unfortunately, the continuous promises by the government to fix the power problems have gone unfulfilled with several excuses, and overly defensive reasons being given by government officials while the problem persists.

Anytime the PURC wants to increase utility tariffs, government and service providers justify the decision that the hikes will help improve the supply of reliable water and electricity. However, this is not the case as we have witnessed hikes in tarrifs without a corresponding improvement in the supply of water and electricity.

In 2013, electricity and water tarrifs went up by almost 79 percent and 52 percent respectively. In September 2014, electricity and water tariffs went up by 6.54 percent and 4.54 percent respectively. In-spite of these increments, the supply of water and electricity have not seen any major improvement.

As a Council, we urge the government to intervene in the situation, and work at fixing the energy crisis before increasing electricity tariffs. The current energy crisis should be addressed, and service providers must be made to improve on their service delivery before any such increment.

The Council is not against increments in utility tariffs if they are justified but it is of the view that such increments must come with corresponding improvements in service delivery.

As Ghanaians we must be ready to pay realistic utility tariffs should the services be improved. The Council also entreats Ghanaians to support the utility service providers by avoiding illegal connections and ensure the prompt payment of their bills.

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