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17.06.2013 General News

Labour cautions PURC on proposal to increase tarrifs

By Daily Graphic
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At a crucial meeting among the PURC, utility providers and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to discuss the proposal by the utility providers in Accra, organised labour unions said the minimum wage was increased only by 17 per cent.

The Volta River Authority (VRA)  is proposing 40 per cent increase from 8.44 Ghana pesewas per unit of energy generated to 19 pesewas to cover the purchase of crude and other incidental expenses.

While Ghana Grid Compamy (GRIDCo) is also asking for a 40 per cent increase in the current transmission cost of GH¢2.8995 per kilowatt hour to GHC3.98, the ECG is asking for an 11.12 per cent increase.

The Ghana Urban Water Company Limited (GUWCL), for its part, wants a 111 per cent increase in its tariffs.

The Managing Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Mr William Hutton-Mensah, said the time had come for Ghanaians to "bite the bullet" in order to sustain power generation for the country's continued development.

He said the country could recoup 30 per cent of its energy requirements if conservation became a part and parcel of the use of the service.

The stakeholders' meeting, organised by the PURC, brought the VRA, the GRIDCO, the ECG/Northern Electricity Development Company (NEDCo), and the GUWCL, to convince the heads of labour unions for economic tariff rates.

The Director of Planning and Business Development of the VRA, Mr Kofi Ellis; an official of GRIDCo, Mr Mark Baah; an official of the ECG, Mr Ebenezer A. Baiden, and an official of the  GUWCL, Mr Kenneth Ennin, all made presentations to woo labour in acceding to their requests for tariff increases.

Mr Ellis, in his presentation, emphasised the fact that the proposition for increases was all about getting consumers to understand, negotiate, and reach consensus on how their asset was going to be sustained.

The last time the PURC okayed increases was 2011.
Mr Asaga, a member of the technical committee responsible for looking into the proposals and making recommendations,  who also chaired the meeting, said in other jurisdictions, the best practice was the payment of higher tariffs by residents than industry, however that was the reverse in Ghana.

He said more deliberations were to continue until August or September when the final decision on tariffs would be made.

By Caroline Boateng
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