Why The Idea Of Electricity Increment Must Not Be Entertained

Speculations are rife that plans are far advanced to increase electricity tariff to an unprecedented level 37 percent.

The speculations, have been given credence, by a Graphic Business publication of December 9, 2018.

According to the paper, “Despite budgeting to record a loss of GH¢136.45 million in the first six months of this year, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) suffered a net loss of GH¢1.15 billion as of June 2018, largely due to foreign exchange losses resulting from the cedi depreciation, lower tariffs and strong growth in inefficiencies”.

In February 2019, a consortium of investors, headed by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) of the Philippines, is due to assume the power distribution mandate of the ECG, under a private sector participation (PSP) arrangement meant to inject efficiency into its operations.

At a recent Meet The Press series, the Minister of Energy, John Peter Amewu, in answer to a question, whether tariffs will go up, was emphatic in his answer that, no, government has no intention of increasing tariffs.

Why we are worried is that, history is replete with situations where such matters enter the public space as rumour. Even when they are denied by the authorities, they manage to take a life of their own and fly.

This newspaper’s sources close to the ECG Concession; have revealed that, the partners in the concession, want the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) to review tariffs upwards, before taking over the operations of the company.

Ghanaians, will interpret any move, no matter the percentage increment as inconsiderate, given the socio-economic challenges that are widespread in the country. No matter the official position to the contrary that, the economy is on a sound footing, with positive micro-economic outlook, it is obvious that the economy is not as healthy as it should be.

Like any increment in prices of petroleum product, electricity is consumed by most Ghanaians, and any increment, will have reverberating effect on almost everything.

It is from this perspective that we are compelled to argue against any thought by the PURC, who have indicated that is reviewing the proposals of SoEs in the utility business, including that of ECG, to arrive at a tariff regime for next year.

 We plead that any thought of an increment to add to the burden of hapless Ghanaians, who have had to bear the brunt of most ill-advised policies and plans, must remain a rumour.

 

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