The Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) on Monday announced increases in electricity and water tariffs with effect from September 1, this year.
Electricity tariffs will go up by an average of seven per cent while water consumers will pay an average of 6.7 per cent more under the new tariffs, Dr Emmanuel Annan, Chairman of PURC, told a press conference on Monday. The adjustment in the electricity tariffs excludes consumers in the lifeline bracket of 0-50 kilowatt-hour. This means that the lifeline tariff for electricity consumers remains unchanged at the rate of 9.5 pesewas per kilowatt-hour.
However, consumers in the residential category of between 51-300 units have an increase of seven per cent per kilowatt-hour, which translated into 17.07 pesewas, up from the existing 15.95 pesewas/kwh.
Dr Annan said apart from the increase in the world market price of crude oil from $90 per barrel in the first quarter to $115.4 per barrel in the third quarter, there was also an inadequate level of natural gas for generating electricity through thermal sources, leading to a high dependency on crude for a generation.
He said the approved tariff was intended to support thermal power producers to procure the needed cargoes of light crude oil to generate electricity.
On the quality of service, Dr Annan said PURC’s nationwide performance monitoring through onsite inspection of the output at utility installations=, analysis of generation, transmission and distribution data and consumer feedback, had shown that there had been some level of improvement in the qualit= y of service.”The Commission’s monitoring also indicated an appreciable level o= f investment programmes being undertaken by the utilities,” he said, adding, that utility company needed to inform consumers about the impact of these ongoing upgrades to their infrastructure.
He said the Commission had widened its consultations with interest groups in an effort to deepen stakeholder understanding of the Automatic Adjustment Formula and to also assure them that a quantitative quality of service index was being developed to be incorporated directly into the formula.
On water tariff, Dr Annan said the current adjustment was meant to assist the management of Ghana Water Company Limited to meet key operationa= l costs such as the cost of chemicals for the treatment of water, electricity and replacement of obsolete equipment as well as maintenance of the system. Last June, the PURC declined a request to increase tariffs for electricity and water for the second quarter of the year, citing poor quality of service by the utility companies although all the factors in the Automatic Adjustment Formula pointed to an upward review.
The PURC re-introduced the automatic adjustment formula to address the adverse movement of external factors that affect tariffs and to reduce the financial burden on consumers associated with one-time tariff adjustments while at the same time ensuring the financial viability of the utilities.