Saturday, 17 March 2018

Electricity tariff reduction won't affect supply – PURC

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Adnan Adams Mohammed

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) Technical Committee, has disbanded fears that the reduction in electricity tariffs could jeopardise the effective operations of the power companies thereby resulting in erratic supply of power.

Some energy experts, after the announcement of the tariff reduction, commented that, the unexpected size of the reduction might affect the effective operations of the power companies, since the reduction has effects on the financial positions of the companies.

However, Ismael Ejekumhene, Chairman of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) Technical Committee has said, at the moment, Ghana has 2,800mw of power reserved, and so, the country will not experience erratic supply.

Beginning 1 April, electricity consumers both residential and commercial, are expected to enjoy between 10% and 30% reduction.

The PURC, which announced the reduction early this month, said residential customers will now enjoy 17.5% reduction, whilst non-residential customers will enjoy 30% reduction.

The mines are also entitled to 10% reduction, with special load tariff customers also enjoying 25% reduction.

But, the Minority spokesperson on Energy Adam Mutawakilu has said Ghanaians are likely to experience erratic power supply and general operational challenges due to the reduction in tariffs.

“In their statement, they indicated that the capacity for AMERI has been reduced but when you asked them whether they had renegotiated the AMERI agreement, they wouldn’t respond; they said transmission losses had been reduced from 4 percent to 3.8 percent and when you asked how they did that they won’t respond,” Mutawakilu said.

Responding to this claim, Mr Ejekumhene, who is also the Executive Director for the Kumasi Institute of Technology & Environment (KITE), said: “Let us ask ourselves what caused the erratic supply. The erratic supply was because of generational problems, our generational capacity did not meet the demands of consumers hence the rationing.

“But as we speak, today we are even struggling to find use for some of the plants because installed capacity is over 5000mw. Current peak demand is around 2200mw, this is more than 50 percent reserved margin. We have signed several contracts on how to dispatch some of the plants that we don’t need at the moment.

“And so what will be the cause of insufficient supply again? Now we have enough capacity and we are even struggling to figure out what to do with some of it.”

Meanwhile, a former Deputy Power Minister John Jinapor is asking the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) to publish the gazette confirming the new tariff reduction before its implementation.

The PURC announced new adjustments meant to take effect from Thursday, 15 March 2018, but the ECG has said the reductions will reflect from 1 April 2018.

Mr Jinapor reacting to the development believes the tariff review is a deception.

In a statement he said: “Electricity Consumers were informed recently that their tariffs have been reduced significantly leading to jubilation and celebrations.

“Indeed the PURC, announced that effective March 15, 2018, residential customers will enjoy a 17.5% reduction, while non-residential customers will see tariffs cut by 30%. It went further to state that those in the mining sector would witness a 10% tariff cut, and 25% cut for Special Load Tariff Customers (LV, MV & HV).

“Ten days after the announcement, the PURC has failed to publish the gazette confirming these reductions as required before the implementation of these adjustments.

“More disturbing is the fact that the Electricity Company of Ghana has equally failed or is unable to publish the official Reckoner which provides details to confirm these reductions.

“For the records, the Reckoner which provides information on the end user tariffs for the various consumption bands must precede the implementation date of 15th March 2018.

“How is the ECG/NEDCO going to implement the revised Tarrifs without a Reckoner?

“How can a consumer confirm that indeed the announced reductions are reflected in their bills without a Reckoner to compare?

“Is the PURC misleading Ghanaians or is it the case that they presented the reductions to Ghanaians under duress?

“What are the true reduction levels if any, and what is Government hiding from the good people of Ghana?

“If indeed there has been a 17.5%, 30%, 10% and 25% reduction for the various consumer brackets, why are the Distribution Companies not publishing the details from the Reckoner to confirm these figures?

“Who is Interfering and/or Manipulating the ECG and PURC from performing their various legitimate roles?

“There is a wise saying that; ‘you may succeed in using deception to achieve your objective in the present but be certain it will always take it away in the future’”.

“Ghanaian deserve the right to know the authenticity or otherwise of these announcements and that must be done through the publication immediately.”