The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission has come under severe bashing after it increased utility tariffs by more than 50%.
The increase in utility tariffs comes at a time when the country is being beaten in all sectors of the economy, starting from the almighty “dumsor” which has affected many businesses leading to job cuts especially those with the private sector down to the unstable currency which has within the year depreciated significantly.
As domestic users are questioning the locus for the upward tariff adjustment, business operators are also considering how the hikes in tariff is going to affect them since their businesses have already been affected by the energy crisis coupled with the fluctuating Cedi.
Organised labour as has added its voice to the calls on the PURC to consider reducing tariffs so as to make it easier for the already struggling industries to stay in business.
According to a statement issued by the Trades Union Congress, its wants the PURC to reduce the tariffs further down or suspend the implementation of any new tariff until at least the dumsor is over.
“The utility companies must be compelled by the PURC to reduce their technical and operational inefficiencies as the condition for tariff review.”
Read the full statement below.
The PURC has approved new rates of utility tariffs. In a statement issued on Monday, 7th December, 2015, the PURC announced a 59.2 percent increase in electricity tariff across the board and between 69 and 89.8 percent increase in water tariff.
Our position is that PURC should have first considered the availability and reliability of power before a review of tariffs. We maintain that it is only when the people of Ghana, including workers in both formal and informal sectors of the economy, are sure of a reliable supply of power and water that they can be convinced to pay higher tariffs.
Ghanaian consumers are already paying heavily for the depreciation of the Ghana Cedi and the high inflation. Real wages have fallen drastically especially since 2012.
We have been following the debate and discussions in the media since PURC announced the newly approved tariffs. The people of Ghana still doubt whether these tariff increases are going to solve the “dumsor”, as the utility providers would like us to believe.
Following our consultations with the PURC, we did not expect any increase in tariffs beyond 50 percent as against the 129 to 400 percent proposed by the utility companies, on condition that the power supply would have stabilized. We also expected the implementation of any new tariffs to start next year.
As workers, we are worried about the ever increasing utility tariffs which do not match the rate of increase in incomes. We are also concerned about the poor macro-economic performance and the technical and operational inefficiencies of the utility companies which have contributed greatly to the frequent hikes in tariffs.
We demand, as a matter of urgency, that:
(1) PURC should reduce the tariffs further;
(2) PURC should suspend the implementation of any new tariff until there is some stability in the supply of power;
(3) The utility companies must be compelled by the PURC to reduce their technical and operational inefficiencies as the condition for tariff review.
SECRETARY GENERAL OF TUC
GHANA FEDERATION OF LABOUR (GFL)
GHANA NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TEACHERS (GNAT)
EMMANUEL BAAH BENIMAH
INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS’ UNION (ICU)
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE TEACHERS (NAGRAT)
DR. JUSTICE YANKSON
GHANA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (GMA)
JUDICIAL SERVICES STAFF ASSOCIATION OF GHANA (JUSAG)
COALITION OF CONCERNED TEACHERS (CCT)
DATED: 9TH DECEMBER 2015