The Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) has defended a more than 50% hike in utilities saying the cost of buying power from independent power producers has shot up hence the hikes.
Nana Yaa Jantuah told Joy News, new power-generating sets such as Ameri and Karpower are being connected to the national grid and are charging power at a cost that demands the hikes.
She also pointed out another IPP, the phase two of the Suon Asogli power project will be coming on stream by the end of the year.
At the current cost of power, Independent Power Producers are struggling to balance their books.
The hikes will help the power producers to be “able to stand on their feet”
“They are wobbling right now...they can’t even go and borrow,” she sympathised.
She also added a near constant reason used to justify utility price hikes – the depreciation of the cedi.
According to the PURC Ghana is moving towards about a 70% reliance on thermal power which depends on gas or oil. Price increases in these raw materials consequently affect the cost of power.
“The generation mix is changing...we cannot depend on hydro anymore” she said.
She revealed the PURC was at pains to announce new tariff hikes and managed to take a decision after over three weeks of deliberating on the matter at the Commission.
The PURC said, the increases could have been worse if the different scenarios including the 100% increase demanded by the service providers had been considered.
“If we have to go the full hog [which is more than 100%] that would have been unpleasant,” Nana Yaa Jantuah said.
Don’t attack government, come to us for redress – PURC tells critics
The PURC alsa said it has taken responsibility for more than 50% price hike in utilities and that government had no hand in formulating the new water and electricity prices.
Public Affairs Director Nana Yaa Jantuah says she is surprised that dissatisfied utility consumers are attacking government following the announcement.
She maintained the PURC is an “independent” body which is not influenced by political considerations in taking its decisions.
Nana Yaa Jantuah wants dissatisfied members of the public to channel their grievances through the PURC.
“They can come to us to seek redress” she encouraged.
She explained that the increase is in the interest of the consumer.
“The interest of the consumer is about the availability of power”, she said, noting the power producers are suffering from the depreciation of the cedi.