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12.04.2010 General News

Utility services court public support for adjustment of tariffs

By GNA
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Cape Coast, April 10, GNA - The public utility services on Friday appealed to Ghanaians to throw their weight behind the proposed increase of tariffs to enable them to deliver quality and satisfactory services.

The appeal was made by the four corporate entities comprising the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Volta River Authority (VRA), Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRID Co) and the Ghana Water Company.

The ECG for instance said it had embarked on a 430 million- dollar rehabilitation and expansion works to be able it to meet the growing demands of its customers.

Mr A.A Osafo, Director of Audit of the ECG who made this known at a public forum on the proposed tariffs in Cape Coast said consumers would within the next 18 months feel a tremendous impact in the quality of services if the Company was able to raise the amount for the rehabilitation works.

The forum was organised by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to solicit views from the public on the proposed tariffs.

The ECG has consequently, proposed an increment of 2.46 pesewas per Kilowatt or unit as against the current tariff of 0.9 pesewas in view of the mounting pressure on the Company to provide additional equipment and to replace the weak and obsolete ones to enhance the quality of service.

Mr Osafo said the overhead lines and sub-stations at Swedru and Winneba in the Central Region would soon be upgraded while an additional 180 million dollars was needed to finance more of such projects nationwide.

He enumerated some of the challenges of the Company, which include weak and obsolete equipment, losses in revenue due to leakages created by illegal consumers amounting to 13.5 per cent and the stealing of electrical conductors.

Mr Osafo hinted that a loss control unit has been established to identify illegal connections and urged the public to desist from such acts.

Mr Eric Asare, Systems Operations Director of GRID Co said the Company would need about one billion dollars to carry out medium term rehabilitation of its transmission infrastructure.

He also identified aging substation equipment, inadequate transmission line and lack of transformer capacity as some of the challenges facing the Company and appealed for increase in tariffs to enable the corporate entity to carry out massive rehabilitations works.

He said tariffs have not been adjusted for the past 13 years, explaining that it does not augur well for expansion and modernisation of the Company's infrastructure to facilitate improved reliable supply of power.

Mr Asare appealed to the public to offer its full support to the adjustments in tariffs to enable the utility companies offer quality services to their satisfaction.

Mr Joseph Yankey, Chief Manager, Corporate Planning and Information, Communication and Technology of the Ghana Water Company, said the proposed tariff for water was 84 pesewas as against the current of 66 pesewas per 1,000 litres.

The VRA also pledged an adequate and reliable power supply for industrial sector as well as investors to facilitate job creation to facilitate national development.

Dr Emmanuel Annan, Chairman of PURC said the Commission was an independent body that is a-political and would ensure that the interest of the public was safeguarded when pegging tariffs.

The hearing was attended mainly by students and some members of the public who appealed for the reduction of the proposed tariffs.

They said the process should be done in phases in order not to over-burden the citizenry.

GNA

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