We won’t reverse utility tariffs – PURC

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) says a reversal of the recently announced tariff hikes is not an option.“We haven’t thought about reversal,” the Commission’s Director of Communication Nana Yaa Jantuah told Starr News’ Osei Owusu Amankwaah in an interview Friday.

“The Commission has taken a decision, the tariffs have been gazzetted,” she emphasised.

The Commission recently announced it has increased electricity and water tariffs by 2.63 per cent and 1.06 per cent, respectively. Customers have received the announcement with a lot of anger.

The Consumer Protection Agency has said it will drag the Commission to Court to put an injunction on the implementation of the new tariffs.

Also pressure group Alliance For Accountable Government (AFAG) says it considers the new utility tariffs “insensitive, needless and baseless,” and has demanded an immediate reversal of the hikes.

“There is neither a commonsensical nor economic basis for this increment,” AFAG said in a statement issued Friday, a day after the Commission announced that the new tariffs will take effect from April 1, 2015.

“Clearly it seems the PURC has become a tool for the oppression of business and domestic consumers,” AFAG asserted.

“At a time when “dumsor” [erratic power supply] has become “dum dum” [even more erratic], and businesses are laying workers off, it is amazing the PURC would allow this increment to go ahead,” the group said, adding: “As of today, coca cola has laid off 500 workers; so have many other businesses as a result of erratic power supply in order to stay afloat.”

According to the statement, “consumers are already paying market prices for utilities with no commensurate services from operators. For the past six years, the excuse for price hikes has always been “to improve services“, but shockingly, all increases have resulted in poor service.”

AFAG has asked the PURC to “put its thinking cap on and reckon that any such increases without fixing “dumsor” is going to raise operating cost of businesses and would lead to further layoffs and consequently affects the larger economy.”

“AFAG is worried that with an economy in coma, flat manufacturing and stagnant salaries, the PURC would baselessly agree to increase tariffs. For the PURC to effect increases in utility prices in the hope of expected improvement in the energy crisis is like putting the cart before the horse. It is insensitive and AFAG can only surmise that this insensitive decision was arrived without much though and broader consultations.

“AFAG calls on the PURC to rescind this reckless decision. We further calls on Civil Society, Political Parties, Trade Unions, Association of Ghana Industries, among others, to show teeth and kick against this decision.”

Ms Jantuah, however, said a reversal is not being considered. – Starrfmonline.com

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