The Ministry of Power in a new statement released on Thursday, July 7, 2016, has sought to realign itself to the President’s claim that what the Electricity Company of Ghana did recently, was not a subsidy for low level power consumers, but rather a realignment of ECG’s billing system.
The President’s comment at the Eid celebration on Wednesday shocked many and somewhat contradicted both the power Ministry and the ECG, which had earlier announced the subsidy, which was to cost the state some Ghc300,000 million.
The Power Ministry, a day after the President’s comment, has released a statement, also alluding to the President’s claim that the ECG had only realigned its billing system to bring relief to consumers.
The Ministry in the statement said the billing anomalies Ghanaians have been battling with for sometime now, have been corrected.
“Following extensive consultation amongst the power sector stakeholders, the electricity billing system has been realigned and all anomalies corrected. Consequently, customers of ECG and NEDCO are expected to enjoy some relief in the amount paid for electricity consumption,”a statement from the Ministry noted.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) late last year, sanctioned an increase of 59.2 percent and 67.2 percent for electricity and water tariffs respectively.
However businesses and individuals have since expressed anger over the increment, describing it as astronomical and unreasonable.
There were protests in June over the rates consumers were supposed to pay. Many Ghanaians claimed they had been over-billed by the company.
But the Ministry indicated that, “a new ‘reckoner’ which brings clarity and better understanding of the billing system will soon be published by the utility companies”.
“The reckoner shall be deployed to all district and regional offices of ECG/NEDCO as well as Customer Service Centres, to assist consumers accordingly.”
Power outages due to temporary difficulties
The Ministry also explained that the recent cases of erratic power supply being experienced in some parts of the country, is as a result of temporary difficulties occasioned by the delay in the supply of light crude.
The Ministry also cited the non-availability of gas from the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) and the limited amount of electricity generated from the Akosombo plant among others as reasons for the recent power outages.
Below is the full statement from the Ministry
STATEMENT ON POWER INTERRUPTIONS AND TARIFF CHANGES
Following recent interruptions in electricity supply in various parts of the country and changes in the tariff regime, the Ministry of Power wishes to clarify as follows:
- The interruptions in electricity supply are due to temporary difficulties occasioned by
a.Delay in the supply of light crude as a result of force majeure caused by unprecedented vandalism of major pipelines and five terminals in Nigeria.
The contracted supplier has, however, assured that it is pursuing all necessary measures to deliver crude in the shortest possible time
b.Non-availability of gas from the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP). This has led to a switch from gas to light crude as fuel to fire a number of thermal plants, which has resulted in a stretch of the consumption rate to conserve the limited stock
c.The Akosombo Dam is at a record low. This has limited the amount of electricity generated from the plant.
The Ministry expects the situation to return to normal very shortly owing to contingency measures adopted to procure adequate quantities of fuel to generate enough power. Additionally, efforts are underway by BOST to secure strategic reserves of fuel to mitigate any future emergencies.
- Tariff re-alignment
The Ministry has also noted varying commentary on the rationalization of lifeline tariffs and wishes to state that it has become necessary to carry out this re-alignment to ensure equity and fairness in the benefits of the lifeline tariff.
Following extensive consultation amongst the power sector stakeholders, the electricity billing system has been realigned and all anomalies corrected. Consequently, customers of ECG and NEDCO are expected to enjoy some relief in the amount paid for electricity consumption.
A new ‘reckoner’ which brings clarity and better understanding of the billing system is being published by the utility companies.
The reckoner shall be deployed to all district and regional offices of ECG/NEDCO as well as Customer Service Centres, to assist consumers accordingly.
We take this opportunity to express appreciation to consumers for their patience and understanding.
DEPUTY MINISTER FOR POWER
Accra- 7th July, 2016.