Utility Tariffs To Go Up In July

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FROM JULY this year, tariffs of utilities would be reviewed upwards, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has hinted.

At a 2-day workshop for members of its media fellowship over the weekend at Prampram in the Greater Accra Region, Dr. Ishmael Ackah, Executive Secretary of the Public Utilities Regulation Commission (PURC), said the Commission, together with key stakeholders, were reviewing the country’s electricity and water tariffs.

He said the tariff review will consider issues including the cost of production, exchange rate, cost of fuel, investment requirements, and the ability for the utilities to meet their benchmark targets set by PURC – particularly, customer satisfaction.

Utility service providers have submitted proposals based on guidelines developed by PURC. The service providers are expected to present a case for their request for tariff adjustment at a public hearing this week.

Dr Ackah said PURC has commenced the analysis of the proposals from the service providers adding  consultations will be conducted with industry experts before the announcement of tariff increases in July.

The Institute for Energy Security (IES), in its latest survey, said “from all indications, there will be an upward review of the current tariff.”

Nana Amoasi VIII, Energy Analyst and Executive Director of the Institute, said “We must brace ourselves for electricity tariff increment so we can save both the distribution and transmission grid from collapsing and have some reliable power supply.”

According to him, “It is unfortunate that it has become a pressing issue to bite at this time when Ghanaians are going through tough times, but it’s still necessary to pay a little more for the utilities to invest to save the grid from collapsing.”

The Energy Analyst noted that Ghana has not seen any major tariff increases in the last seven years, yet the operational cost of electricity continues to rise, hampering the work of utilities.

He was of the view that if electricity consumers were not made to pay a little more to enable the service provider to invest, “… the power system may collapse…”

“Between 2015 and now, electricity tariff has not seen any significant rise. Meanwhile the operational cost of the utilities have been rising year on year partly due to foreign exchange losses through obsolete equipment and power lines, and increasing cost of borrowing to finance their operations.

Nana Amoasi VIII called on the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) to prepare to work more to stop the increasing commercial losses they suffer.

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