High ‘service charges’: PURC ‘colluding’ with ECG?

High ‘service charges’: PURC ‘colluding’ with ECG?

A lot of Ghanaians are expressing uncontrollable anger over the recent high service connection charges being implemented by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

The ECG’s high service connection charges which took effect on 1st February, 2022, is particularly raking the bile of some young men and women who are ‘struggling’ to put up their own houses.

Also included in the ‘anger-circle’, are enterprising young Ghanaians who are venturing into the real estate development sector of the nation’s building and construction industry.

For instance, before the high service connection charges took effect on 1st February, 2022, the ECG charged GH¢400 to draw a single-phase service line from the nearest ECG pole to the customer-end installation and terminated it in an energy meter.

Currently, the ECG charges GH¢1,020 to draw a single-phase service line from the nearest ECG pole to the customer-end installation and terminates it in an energy meter, thus, adding GH¢620 to the previous charge of GH¢400.

Previously too, the ECG charged GH¢700 to draw a three-phase service line from the nearest ECG pole to the customer-end installation and terminated it in energy meter.

But currently, company charges GH¢1,920 to draw a three-phase service line from the nearest ECG pole to the customer-end installation and terminates it in an energy meter, thus, adding GH¢1,220 to the previous charge of GH¢700 .

Previously, when ECG installed a single-phase additional meter to customer-premises that already had an ECG service line and energy meter, it charged GH¢82.25 pesewas but now, it charges GH¢700 for a single-phase separate meter, thus, adding GH¢617.75 pesewas to the previous GH¢82.25 pesewas.

And for a three-phase separate meter, it now charges GH¢1,300 as against its previous charge of GH¢176, thus, adding GH¢1,124 to the previous GH¢176.

Judas Nii Ankrah, an  Accra-based Chamber and Hall ‘house owner’ says; “the ECG’s new service connection charges are not only incredibly astronomical but also an attempt to encourage ‘struggling’ new house owners to ‘specialise’ in doing illegal electricity connection to their new ‘homes’.”

He said, “Government must quickly scrap the new service connection charges to enable people to light their ‘homes’,” adding that , “after all, we pay for the services of the ECG till thy kingdom come after their installation of the electricity in our ‘houses’.”

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) , usually,  engages utility service providers in series of stakeholder consultation meetings to gather relevant data and enhance transparency and credibility in tariff review processes , as part of its mandate of examining and approving rates that will be charged for water and electricity tariffs in Ghana.

Following up on data submitted by the utility service providers, the PURC holds meetings to discuss updates, clarify and address other pertinent issues, besides making projections.

Such consultative meetings are intended to assist PURC in improving its rate-setting guidelines.

One young real estate developer also adds:”The PURC is also expected to hold extensive consultations with key stakeholders to ensure that tariff processes are more transparent before a final decision is made.”

He said:”PURC’s announcement of public input for the 2022 electricity tariff’s was absent, unlike the case of the previous years.”

A Takoradi-based landlord insists that in accordance with the PURC Act, 1997 (Act 538),  “the PURC must initiate processes for the examination and approval of electricity and water tariffs but for the 2022  ECG service connection charges, the PURC failed to do so.”

He added:”Interested organisations, groups and the general public are invited to submit any inquiries or representations in respect of review of tariff’s  to the PURC but for the year 2022 ,  nothing was heard from the PURC .”

The Assin Central Member of Parliament, Mr. Kennedy Agyapong , is urging President Akufo-Addo and the Energy Minister,  Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, to quickly act against the implementation of the high electricity service connection charges and other tariff’s.

“The astronomical electricity service connection charges and other tariff’s will surely threaten the survival of businesses in the country”, he said, stressing that “it will also affect the chances of the New Patriotic Party , winning the 2024 national elections, if the Government sits idle for the PURC and the ECG to implement such atrocious electricity charges.”

Speaking on his NET 2 television network, Mr Agyapong said, “with the ridiculous electricity charges, businesses in the country will surely be heading towards a ditch.

“I don’t know the level of Independence of the PURC that makes them approve such electricity price increases like that but the President and the Energy Minister must not allow them to drive businesses into a ditch.”

The Minority in Parliament is also demanding the immediate suspension of what they describe as “clandestine hikes in electricity tariffs endorsed by the PURC.”

Addressing the press in Parliament on February 16, 2022, a ranking member on Energy and Mines Committee of Parliament, Mr. John Jinapor, said: “We did our own investigations and realised that the PURC has secretly approved the increase of electricity tariffs by huge margins.”

Mr Jinapor, who is also the Member of Parliament for Yapei Kusawgu Constituency said:”The law demands that before the PURC can make such adjustments, they will need to consult the customers and consumers.

“Secondly, after the increment, they need to inform Ghanaians but they have done this secretly and they have started charging the people and this is insensitive and illegal.”

The PURC’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Bawah Munkaila, however, told TV3 in an interview on Thursday, February 17, 2022, that “the PURC has not yet adjusted tariffs for the year 2022.”

“But the fact of the matter is that the ridiculous electricity service connection charges and other tariffs are being implemented by the ECG,” Mr. Ernest Donkor, an angry new house owner who has applied for a new single-phase service connection line to his ‘nearly completed building ‘ at Somanya, has said.

“The ECG, without any prior notice, suddenly announced on social media in the middle of January, 2022, that the atrocious electricity service connection charges and other tariffs will take effect on 1st February, 2022, and, indeed, it took effect from that date without any whimper from the PURC,” Mr. Donkor added

Readers, from the foregoing what are your expectations from the Government, the PURC and the ECG in resolving the issues in contention?

By G. Frank Asmah

Contact email/ WhatsApp of the author:

asmahfrankg@gmail.com (0505556179)

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