The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) has commended the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) for its stance against the current demand by the Volta River Authority (VRA) to increase electricity tariffs.
A statement signed by its Deputy General Secretary in-charge of Operations, Mr Morgan Ayawine, the ICU urged PURC not to give in to the “unreasonable demands” of the VRA in the public interest.
The ICU also urged the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy, to take a cue from the PURC’s position on the matter, and “protect the interests of those who made them parliamentarians.”
The Union pointed out that; “the public is yet to recover from the blow it had from the price increases in petroleum products, which Ghanaians received as a New Year Greetings.”
“We, therefore, cannot afford another dose of price increase in the form of electricity tariff, especially at a time when Ghanaians are already saddled with enormous water and electricity bills without improved services as envisaged,” the statement noted.
The Union pointed out that VRA’s litany of excuses, problems and justifications for asking for increase in electricity tariff was not a new mantra to consumers.
It, therefore, urged VRA and its associates to find other means to fix their problems, and ensure that their services commensurate with the tariff consumers were paying now.
“When consumers begin to get value for their money in terms of improved and sustained electricity supply, and where industries will not have to fold up and workers laid off; where commerce, banking and finance, hotels and restaurants and medical care centres will not have to rely on generators, and where the informal sector will not have to shut their businesses, it is only these and then that any increase in tariff would be justified and accepted by consumers,” the statement stressed.
It noted that anything short of this would not only be tantamount to taking consumers for granted, but also for a much roughed side.
The Union believed that the habit of VRA and its associates, running to seek refuge in the “public pockets,” must not be encouraged by Ghanaians.
“They must not be given the privilege of the prodigal son who dissipated his father’s resources and ran back to him to be rehabilitated.”
It is the firm conviction of the ICU that the losses in electricity distribution, the uncollected electricity bills, especially owed by government and its agencies, and other corporate bodies, the illegal electricity connections, among other wastage of electricity, from production through supply, if checked, and properly harnessed, would constitute a colossal wealth or resources which VRA and its associates could use to boost their operations and break even.