Nana Yaa Jantuah-External Relations Manager, PURC
Nana Yaa Jantuah-External Relations Manager, PURC

Commenting on the directive in an interview with Citi FM on Tuesday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Mark Badu Aboagye described the order as one in the right direction.

Nana Yaa Jantuah-External Relations Manager, PURC
Nana Yaa Jantuah-External Relations Manager, PURC

On Tuesday, May 24, the PURC issued the directive following numerous complaints filed with the Commission by consumers of electricity who allege that they were being over-billed by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG). The PURC in its directive further requested a review of ECG’s billing software by an independent software auditor, and to present its findings before the regulator within 10 days.

“I think it is a step in the right direction. We have, from the beginning of the year, drawn the PURC’s attention to the fact that there seems to be a problem with the billing system. Our members have been complaining about the fact that they are paying more than the approved rate, so, if they have realised that and suspended it, I think it is a relief to us,” Mr Badu Aboagye observed.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) and other civil society groups have also welcome the PURC move. Other notable figures who have commented on the development include the flag-bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who has blamed the excessively high electricity tariffs on the Mahama administration.

In a statement, the NPP flag-bearer said: “I have taken notice of today’s statement made by the PURC that the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) should suspend its billing system. I think the matter is more fundamental and should go further than that.

“If you look at the rates we are charging industry, as well as domestic users, for electricity in Ghana, compared, for instance, to Cote d’Ivoire, already, it puts our enterprises in a very uncompetitive comparison,” he said.

“In Ghana, my understanding is that the tariff for commercial users is 32 US cents/kilowatt hour. The Ivorian equivalent is 13 US cents/kilowatt hour. Again, for domestic users, we are talking about 19.28 US cents/kilowatt hour, when Cote d’Ivoire’s equivalent is a tariff of nine US cents/kilowatt hour.

“A large part of it is due to the taxes, the insatiable appetite of the Mahama government for taxes – 10 percent energy levy, which is charged for both domestic and commercial uses, a service charge of GHc7 flat rate for every consumer and a VAT of 17½ percent for commercial users.”

In the view of Nana Akufo Addo, the tariffs will come down substantially if the taxes on the service are reduced. “It is important for us to recognise in Ghana that, whatever we are doing, we are doing so in a globally competitive context, and if we don’t recognise that, many of the decisions we make about the management of our economy are going to put us at a disadvantage.”

“I am saying it is absolutely imperative and urgent that the public authorities find a way to reduce electricity tariffs in our country immediately and do so now.”

Source: PA News Desk Report

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