PURC assures SMEs of business friendly Tariff

The Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) has assured Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) of tariff that will propel their businesses.  

The Regulator of utility service providers gave this assurance ahead of the announcement of the 2022 tariff, noting that the Commission had made reforms to make this year’s tariff “the most business friendly.”

Dr Ismael Ackah, the Executive Secretary of the Commission said: “We have done some reforms to the tariff system. This year’s tariff is the most business friendly tariff we’ve had especially for hairdressers, barbers, vulcanizers and other Small-Scale Enterprises who are going to pay lower tariffs than the residential sector.”

He said this during an engagement with journalists in Accra as part of efforts to deepen the relationship between the Commission and the Ghanaian media.

He explained that currently, residential electricity and water consumers in the country paid lesser tariff compared with industrial users, a situation, which was the reverse in most African countries and other parts of the world.

The Executive Secretary said the Commission was reversing the situation by reducing the gross subsidy for residential utility consumers to make industries competitive.

“What we are doing is not to make the residential consumers pay higher. We want industry to pay what will make them competitive to help them expand and recruit more while minimising the impact on the tariffs on the residential sectors,” he said.

All utility service providers are requesting for increment in tariff to enable them to operate effectively and embark on major projects.

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has requested for 148 per cent increment in tariff; Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), 330 per cent, Ghana Grid Company, (GRIDCo) 48 per cent increase and NEDCo 113 per cent.

Already, the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the largest umbrella body of workers in Ghana, has asked the sector regulator, the Commission, not to grant the request of the utilities until the current economic crisis was over.

In a statement issued on the tariff in June, the Union noted that: “In our current economic and social situation, workers and Ghanaians will have very little levers to absorb such shocks. This is not the time for a major review of utility tariffs. Any astronomical increases in tariffs could trigger social upheavals.”

“Rather, what we need are measures that will reduce waste to the barest minimum and infuse efficiency in the operations of the utility companies that will help to sustain them over a long period of time.”

Meanwhile, PUCR has assured that it would protect electricity and water consumers against the infliction of high tariffs by not transferring losses incurred by the utilities to consumers to worsen their plight amid the current economic hardship.

The Commission noted that it had critically examined the targets set for each of the utility service providers and their performance, their historical costs and investment, and would make their final decision based on such benchmarks.

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