The operators of Bread and Wine, an Italian restaurant operating at Osu in Accra, say they may end their operations in Ghana if electricity bills of the eatery remain high after an audit ordered by Deputy Minister of Power, John Abdulai Jinapor.
The restaurant had served notice of its impending closure following high electricity tariffs from Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
The company said the charges by the ECG cannot reflect their consumption, but their complaints fell on deaf ears, as ECG officials asked them to leave the country if they were not comfortable with the charges.
The company decided to close the business in the next few weeks.
“Dear friends and clients, after receiving couple of electricity ECG bills, GH¢30,000 per month (7,000 Euros, a month), we are sorry to announce that Bread and Wine will close its doors at the end of March 2016,” a Facebook post from the company said.
“We tried to explain to ECG that we are only using our ACs (air-conditioners) during lunch and dinner time, therefore that consumption of electricity is impossible. Their answer was “if you are not happy, go back to your country,” it added.
These outrageous electricity bills compelled the deputy minister to visit the restaurant on Friday.
He called for audit of the metre as well as power consumption of the restaurant that employs about 60 Ghanaians.
However, the manager of the restaurant, who gave his name as Nicholas, insisted that they will close down the eatery should the tariffs remain the same after the audit.
“The Minister will do what he has to do. He cannot give me a solution, he is now looking into the problem and as to whether we are closing or not, it will depend on the outcome. But they have to understand that if the bill remains the same, this place cannot operate because a restaurant cannot generate enough money to pay a bill of GH¢30,000,” he charged.
Mr Jinapor directed the Energy Commission and ECG to investigate and explain the astronomical charges at the restaurant through the audit of the metering system of Bread and Wine.
“The meter was changed and the bill went up, and so we would have to find out why it went up. Was it that the previous meter was faulty and was not reading properly or the new meter is reading astronomically? I think that when we do the audit, we can determine that and so I have directed that the Energy Commission and the ECG do what they call a test run…they will have a parallel meter alongside the current meter and that will determine whether first of all the meter is reading properly. I am sure by Wednesday we will get the results,” the Minister told Citi FM.
Many Ghanaians have complained of exorbitant charges following an increase of 59.2 percent in electricity tariff last December.
“This might be one case but we intend rolling it out. All districts should carry out an audit of the metering system. It is possible, you never know, machines could be faulty. It is too early to draw conclusions. But let’s do a general audit because I have also had complaints from another hotel indicating that their bills are high and as a government we cannot sit unconcerned.
“We have to take steps to ensure that we protect businesses.”
A DAILY GUIDE Report