President John Dramani Mahama has appealed to Ghanaians to exercise patience over the current exorbitant tariffs they are being charged for electricity. According to the President, the problem of high electricity tariffs will become a story of the past by the end of June.
The President gave this assurance while addressing residents of Madina and Atomic during his ‘Accounting to the People Tour’ of the Greater Accra Region Tuesday. He explained to them that the authorities are already working to ensure that the issue of over-billing is taken care of by the end of the month.
Pleading with them to exercise patience, Mahama assured the people that all irregularities in the billing system would have been resolved by the beginning of next month.
Because the electricity bill is done on monthly cycles, they have to start on the first of month with a new billing cycle, and so I have asked Ghanaians to exercise patience. From Ist July, they will start a new billing cycle, and I am sure a lot of you will see a lot of relief in electricity bills.
The issue of the ECG allegedly over-billing customers is no longer news in Ghana. According to reports, many businesses, both small and large scale have been forced to either close down or leave the country, as a result of unaffordable electricity bills. Ghanaians are complaining that the charges are not just high but that the metering is faulty, resulting to them being over-billed by the ECG.
Last month, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), demanded that the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) suspends the implementation of their new billing software till further notice. A statement signed by the PURC’s Public Relations Director, Nana Yaa Jantuah, said the directive was given out, following incessant complaints from customers who alleged that they were being over-billed by the ECG.
But staff of ECG have accused government of being responsible for the high tariffs following the increases and the introduction of taxes.
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Ahead of last Christmas, the PURC authorised a 59.2% increase in electricity tariffs, and a 67.2% increase for water tariffs. The development had since resulted to bitter complaints from both individuals and businesses in the country, who described it as outrageous.
Nevertheless, President Mahama has said that the ECG billing system is not the only culprit for the hgh electricity tariffs. He pointed out that another major reason for the hike in bills is the falling capacity of the hydro dams brought about by scarce rainfalls.
He explained that the cost of electric light will also come down if the intensity of the rains increases.
The bills went so high because our hydro dams are low and hydro is the cheapest source of power, and now all the power we are producing is either with gas or crude oil, and these are more expensive than hydro. But we are praying that this year, the rains will be good so that the dam will recover. As we put in cheaper hydro power, we will adjust the tariffs to reflect that in the cheaper power, that we are getting. So I will ask Ghanaians to exercise patience and that government is sensitive to what is going on, and we will do our best to give them some relief,” the President said.
Meanwhile, among other forms of protests over this issue, residents of Nungua, Teshie and Labadi had taken to the the streets of Accra to express their displeasure with what they call the ‘killer tariffs’ by the ECG. They had warned the government during the demo, to reduce the ‘killer tariffs’, or face more protests.
The President, in response to all these is asking that Ghanaians exercise patience as they will soon be greeted by a significant change in the issue of electricity tariffs.