Political parties kick against increases in tariffs

Electricity metersRepresentatives of four political parties, have kicked against the high tariff proposals of the utility companies, saying their arguments are not convincing enough for upward adjustments.

At a stakeholder consultative meeting on the 2013 major tariff review process, the representatives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), Convention Peoples Party (CPP) and Peoples National Convention (PNC) said they did not understand the basis for such big tariffs demands.

The consultative meeting was organised by the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) to enable the utilities to interact with the political parties on their proposals.

The utilities are seeking 166 per cent increase in end user tariffs.

The representatives argued the PURC should not rush into meeting the demands of the utility without justification for the increase.

Mr Bernard Mornah of the PNC said the party was not convinced about the arguments being put up by the utility companies.

He said the companies had presented the same issues over the years without taking corrective measures to address the challenges.

“NPP as a party is not convinced the tariff for water should be adjusted upwards. The water is not flowing and how can we pay for something we don’t have,” Hopeson Adoye, Director of Operations of Young Patriots said.

Mr Adoye said he would be comfortable with some amount of increment for the Volta River Authority (VRA) to improve generation but not the big jump they are seeking.

Mr George Lawson of the NDC said the public cannot afford the increases that the utilities are looking for and called on them to provide enough justification to be able to rally public support.

Mr Kwame Jantuah, CPP Spokesman on Energy, said while it would not be the wish of any of the parties to see the utility companies’ collapse the justification for the Ghana Water Company for upward adjustment of tariffs was not convincing enough.

“CPP wants to see exactly what the balance sheet of the Water Company is and how they intend to solve the malpractices in the system,” he said.

There was a similar meeting on Thursday with the policy think tank, which was attended by   Imani Ghana, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy and the Centre for Policy Analysis, which also called on the government not to rush to meet the demands for tariff increment.

Mr Samuel Sarpong, Executive Secretary, PURC said the Commission is introducing a three-year tariff plan to provide certainty of investment for service providers.

“The three years give certainty of investment and maintenance,” Mr Sarpong said, adding that the PURC needs to set realistic tariffs to be able to attract new investments.

Mr Moses Asaga, Chairman of the Technical Committee of PURC, asked the Ghana Water Company to undertake a valuation of their assets, which had not been done in almost 15 years.

Source: GNA

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