The electricity relief package announced by President Akufo-Addo will cost government ¢1 billion, the Energy Minister, Peter Amewu has disclosed.

The President announced three months of free electricity for consumers of a particular category, to make up for lost income following the coronavirus lockdown in Accra and Kumasi.

He said the decision is part of additional measures being taken by government to mitigate the impact the outbreak of the virus is having on the public.

“We’ve decided on further measures of mitigation for all Ghanaians for the next three months, i.e April, May and June. Government will fully absorb electricity bills for the poorest of the poor, i.e, for all consumers. That is free electricity for persons who consume from 0-50 kilowatt-hours a month for this period,” the President told the nation.

In addition, the President said government will also absorb 50% of electricity bills for consumers in residential areas as well as those engaged in commercial activities during the period using their March 2020 bill as the benchmark.

Giving a breakdown of the distribution of the relief package across three utility providers – Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Volta River Authority (VRA) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) – Mr Amewu said customers of all these agencies will be positively affected by the relief.

He explained that lifeline customer in Ghana, is one who uses one television set, two light bulbs, a table top refrigerator and a fan for a limited number of hours.

So any consumer with these appliances and uses them on daily basis is considered as a lifeline customer.

ECG’s customer population of one million (calculated in terms of metres) means that “at the current tariff level, government is absorbing almost an amount of ₵8.5 million per month. For non-lifeline customers of which 2,780,886 are residential and 1,608 are special low tariff customers, a 50 percent discount on their electricity bill will translate to ₵235. 4 million per month.

“The total relief for ECG customers per month based the estimated revenue is therefore ₵244 million translating into ₵732 million for the three months,” Mr Amewu detailed.

The relief for all NEDCo customers on the other hand translates to about ₵47 million per month, totaling ₵141 million for the three-month period.

“This comprises a relief of about ₵10.9 million per month or ₵32.9 million for three months for a population of 5,069 life customers.”

For NEDCo’s non-life customers, who make 60.67 percent of its population, government will be paying ₵36 million per month or ₵108 million for the three months.

Government is providing a total relief of ₵55.5 million per month for customers of the VRA. This figure translates to ₵166.4 million for three months.

“The VRA relief comprises 12 mining customers at ₵42.4 million per month or a total of ₵127.2 million for three months and a ₵4.8 million monthly relief totaling ₵14.4 million for the Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO),” Mr Amewu said.

He added that the bill for other manufacturing customers like Aluworks, Diamond Cement, Savanna Cement, Enclave Power Limited stands at ₵7.9 million per month, totaling ₵23.7 million for the three month period.

“Overall, the government is providing a cumulative relief of an amount equivalent of one billion cedis, approximately covering a customer population of about 4.8 million metres across Ghana for the three month period,” he said.