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Power consumers decry high tariffs

Consumers of electricity are currently paying additional 10 per cent levy following the implementation of the Energy Sector Levies Act 2015(Act 899).

This means that consumers are paying more than the 59.2 per cent increment that the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) announced in December, 2015.

As a result of the levy and the earlier adjustment, consumers are paying about 70 per cent more for electricity.

The Energy Sector Levy Act 2015(Act 899) stipulates that the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) charge a five per cent public lighting levy and five per cent national electrification levy making 10 per cent.The Public Relations Manager of the ECG, Mr William Boateng, who explained this to the Daily Graphic, said the company was instructed by the PURC in a letter dated January 7, 2016 to start the implementation from January 1, 2016.

Public outcry

There has been public outcry in the past few weeks over high cost of electricity with some consumers accusing the ECG of stealing their units of power.

At some vending points, sales personnel have had to endure insults and abuse from consumers who felt they were being cheated.

Meanwhile, organised labour is currently protesting what they described as killer taxes on utility. A massive demonstration to press home their demand for a reduction in the tariffs was organised nationwide last Wednesday.

Mr Boateng explained that the ECG was not stealing the units of consumers but rather it was because of the levy and the previous adjustment.

He said the Energy Sector Act which was imposed on petroleum and electricity was passed by Parliament and assented to by President Mahama on December 24, 2015.

“The ECG has nothing to do with the law. We are only following statutory mandate. The levy doesn’t even come to the ECG. It is for the government,” he said.

Imbalance calculations

Due to an error of imbalance of calculations, he said, some consumers had their credits wrongfully deducted during the tariff adjustment which took effect from December 14, 2015.

“By the law we were supposed to start deductions from December 14, 2015 when the increment was announced but some consumers had deductions made from December 1, after the announcement, which was against the law so we had to refund their monies to them,” he said.

So far, Mr Boateng said, the company had refunded more than GH¢3 million to more than 333,902 consumers.

On the other hand, he said consumers who had not bought units since the time of the announcement of the increment had to pay arrears, hence some of the huge deductions.

He also urged consumers to bear in mind that because the load shedding had ended, they were consuming more as compared to the period of the load managment.

On the issue of agitations by organised labour, he said the government needed to be circumspect in its decision, since the power generators also needed funds to sustain their operations.

He said the industry needed to be viable and strong financially to generate power for domestic and industrial needs.

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