A cross-section of the public who participated in the Public Hearing on the 2022-2027 multi-year major utility tariff review have expressed resentment about the proposals by the companies.
The public was not enthused by the level of service delivery in terms of quality, efficiency, and effectiveness as well as prompt response to concerns or challenges encountered by customers of both the Ghana Water Company and the Electricity Company of Ghana.
The Public Hearing was organised by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to educate the residents of the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis on the technicalities in fixing tariffs and build consensus for some upward adjustments to handle operational costs.
Mr Thomas Cudjoe, a lecturer at the Takoradi Technical University, was worried about the absence of pipe-borne water for almost six months in the Airport Ridge residential area and Windy Ridge areas and, therefore, proposed only a 10 per cent upward adjustment of tariffs.
Mr Thomas Evans Adjei, the Regional Chairman of the Ghana Electrical Contractors Association, called on the PURC to conduct regular follow-ups and engage citizens regularly to appreciate their concerns and not only wait to engage them when they want to increase tariffs.
Madam Naana Barton-Oduro, the Assembly member for the Railway Port Electoral Area, was unhappy that residents paid for services without the benefits they deserved and asked the two companies to up their game if they wanted an upward adjustment of tariffs.
Others also lambasted the entities for operational losses, attributing it to delayed responses and other operational mishaps.
Meanwhile, Dr Ishmael Ackah, the Executive Secretary of the PURC, said the overall objective of the engagement was to ensure that consumers were given the best of services.
He said the tariffs would be set on prevailing macroeconomic indicators and the financial viability of investment in line with the Commission’s templates and guidelines.
He said the engagement was also an opportunity for the citizenry to “influence the regulatory regime.”
Ms Sylvia Nushie, the Management Information System Manager of the ECG, touted the massive injection of capital into their operations and the plans of expansion and called on Ghanaians to bear with them.
She also urged the Bank of Ghana to deal with the depreciation of the cedi and government and public support to mitigate the increasing debt burden, which currently stood at GHC6.2billion.
Mr Seth Eric Atiepa, a Director of the Ghana Water Company Limited, noted some construction works and projects to boost production amid the growing cost of doing business and the need for stakeholders to share in the load.
He said the major problem of the company was the activities of illegal miners which had gone a long way to increase their production cost since the company had to use more chemicals to treat raw water, which is heavily polluted
Mr Ishmael Edjekumhene, Chairman of the Technical Committee of the PURC, acknowledged the need for improvement and prayed that by the close of June some concrete proposals would be established for use.
Nana Kobena Nketsia V, the Paramount Chief of Essikado, who chaired the engagement, said water continued to be an essential commodity that must be safeguarded by all.
He said social justice demanded that abusers of such natural heritage were dealt with, adding, “we all have a share in these resources ‘.