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18.04.2005 General News

Utility Tariffs Could Go Up By 7.5 %

By jfm

PURC chairman Kwame Pianim says electricity and water tariffs could be increased by up to 7.5 percent.

He says it depends on how petroleum prices play out on the world market. The utility tariff regulator, which is reviewing tariffs, is expected to be decided by end of April.

Mr. Pianim explains that two of the three factors central to fixing utility prices have been relatively stable.

That includes the power generation mix and the cedi's exchange rate. He says the world petroleum price, the third factor, will play out in the PURC's final decision.

“The exchange rate which is a driver for tariff movement is also stable. The only one that we have to deal with is the petroleum prices. The last tariff adjustment was done in February, and we used $48 per barrel. But now, it is between $52 and $53,” he says.

According to the power generation mix, he says there will be between 5-7 per cent adjustments.

The Committee of Joint Action, which organised the Wahala protests, has warned the PURC against increasing water and electricity tariffs.

The CJA says the tariff regulator should be mindful of the harsh effect of February's fuel price increases.

Mr. Pianim says the PURC's decision will be sensitive to the fuel increase and its impact.

“The data will come in at the end of the month and we will take a look at it because the current government is sensitive to the plight of workers and that is why it took a very long time for the President to increase petrol, for instance. But the PURC has systems for protecting the poor and the marginalized and we will do it in that respect,” he says. He adds that street protests like the Wahala demonstration, aren't appropriate channels for resolving issues.

He says it's creating the impression in the eyes of the world that Ghana is not peaceful.

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