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Power providers want tariff increases amidst erratic power supply
From: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com l Gifty Andoh Appiah          Published On: January 29, 2013, 13:23 GMT
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Power providers want tariff increases amidst erratic power supply
The Volta River authority and the Electricity Company of Ghana are calling for hikes in electricity tariffs.

The two organisations tell Joy News that is the surest way to boost their capacity to deliver on the country’s energy needs.

Their call comes in the wake of public criticisms of recent irregularities in the power supply.

On the back of the proposal for increased tariffs by the utility providers, Joy News’ Gifty Andoh Appiah reported some of the recommendations made by the government to stop wastage and ensure an efficient power supply are not being adhered to.

In 2010, government issued a directive to ministries, departments and agencies to use prepaid meters as a measure against misuse of power.

Three years down the line, only a few government establishments use prepaid metres. The Rent Control Unit is one such agency.

Twum Ampofo, a Principal Rent Officer at the Rent Control office in Accra, said that since the adoption of the prepaid meters, measures have been put in place to conserve power.

Thenceforth, he reported, many of the offices have been turning off their air-conditioners and using fans instead.

The Ghana Highways Authority is one of the MDAs who are still using post-paid meters, but N.B Quarmor, its Public Affairs Director, would not answer any questions on when the Authority would install and use the prepaid meters.

As some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) continue to defy this directive and default on their payments to the ECG, the power generator continues to be resource-starved, limiting its ability to serve many more of the communities in need of power.

On one hand, the VRA and the ECG are asking for an increment in tariffs but on the other hand, the companies are owed large sums by government ministries and agencies. MDAs alone owe more than GH˘230 million.

VRA Head of Corporate Communications Sam Kwesi Fletcher believes their work will be more effective if these monies are paid and consumers pay realistic tariffs.

Although they could not mention specifics, the ECG also owes in loans as hinted by the Operations manager Tetteh Okyne.

Disagreements have already arisen over whether consumers should be burdened with higher tariffs in light of the cycle of large debts and poor service provision that so many consumers complain is characteristic of electricity services in Ghana.

Already, a pressure group called the Committee for Joint Action has served notice that it will not accept a situation in which the ordinary consumer will be made to pay such huge debts that are actually owed government agencies.

And with the current stance of the VRA and ECG, it seems unlikely that the erratic power supply will stabilize soon.

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