President John Dramani Mahama has pleaded with Ghanaians affected by the recent supposed over-billing by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), to exercise restraint as authorities are working to fix the problem by the end of this month.
Addressing residents of Madina and Atomic during his ‘Accounting to the People Tour’ of the Greater Accra Region today [Tuesday], President Mahama said he was very confident that all anomalies with the billing system would be resolved during the next billing cycle.
“Because the electricity bill is done on monthly cycles, they have to start on the first of month with a new billing cycle, and so I have asked Ghanaians to exercise patience. From Ist July, they will start a new billing cycle, and I am sure a lot of you will see a lot of relief in electricity bills.”
Suspend ‘problematic’ billing software – PURC to ECG
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), in May 2016, instructed the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), to suspend the implementation of their new billing software until further notice.
A statement signed by the PURC’s Public Relations Director, Nana Yaa Jantuah, said the directive was necessitated by incessant complaints from customers who alleged that they were being over-billed by the ECG.
But staff of ECG have accused government of being responsible for the high tariffs following the increases and the introduction of taxes. Electricity tariffs up by 59.2%, water 67.2% ahead of Christmas.
The PURC late last year sanctioned an increase of 59.2 percent and 67.2 percent for electricity and water tariffs respectively. But businesses and individuals expressed displeasure with the increase which they described as astronomical.
The President’s assurances came as outraged residents of Nungua, Teshie and Labadi, took to the the streets of Accra in their numbers, to show their displeasure with what they call the ‘killer tariffs’ by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
The demonstrators have called on government to reduce the suffocating tariffs, or face more protests.
Praying for rain
Whilst blaming errors in ECG’s billing system for the high tariffs, President Mahama also blamed reasons for the high bills on the dwindling capacity of hydro dams.
“The bills went so high because our hydro dams are low and hydro is the cheapest source of power, and now all the power we are producing is either with gas or crude oil, and these are more expensive than hydro. But we are praying that this year, the rains will be good so that the dam will recover. As we put in cheaper hydro power, we will adjust the tariffs to reflect that in the cheaper power, that we are getting. So I will ask Ghanaians to exercise patience and that government is sensitive to what is going on, and we will do our best to give them some relief,” the President said.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana