Some residents in the Northern Region are kicking against the proposed increase in utility tariffs by the utility companies in Ghana. 

According to the residents, the companies do not merit any increment because of the inefficient service they continue to offer.

Major utility companies such as the Ghana Water Company Limited and the Electricity Company of Ghana among others, last month proposed some new tariff adjustment which triggered huge public reactions. 

Residents of Tamale kick against proposed tariff increase

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission [PURC] began engagement with Ghanaians through its public forums. PURC has so far held four public forums with the Tamale forum making it five.

Speaking to JoyNews, Alhassan Imoro,  a resident,  questioned the moral  justification of the utility companies demanding increment  when they have failed to consult the consumers  first before coming out with the proposed increase,  adding that the increment would further worsen the burden of Ghanaians.

 “If you proposed your targets without consulting the people it means that you’re going to fail because we should have been consulted before the increment;  you go into people’s homes and you see standpipes over three months with no drop of water and at the end of the month, they bring bills. For me, this tariff increment is not achievable at all because we don’t get the right services we pay for,” he said.

Another resident, Yahaya Yussif, said the people are unhappy about the rates being proposed because it does not reflect in the services the utility companies provide.

Residents of Tamale kick against proposed tariff increase

“We have noticed in recent times that VRA and NEDCo for instance have been adjusting their rates but with poor quality service delivery; almost all communities within Tamale are receiving low voltage which is damaging our gadgets,” he said.

Mr. Yahaya however urged the utility providers to rather be working on how to improve their services and not to pass on additional costs to consumers whom he said are already paying too much.

Ahmed Rufai is a pure water producer and lamented the cost of raw materials and water treatment.

Residents of Tamale kick against proposed tariff increase

“I’m a sachet water producer and if I want to get more market, it means that I have to improve the quality of my water and not to increase the price and expect costumers or consumers to buy so that I can get money before I improve on my water,” he noted.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Consumers  Protection Agency Kofi Kapito who was at the forum charged the utility providers to demand their debt from government institutions as well as private individuals to help address their financial challenges.

He said, “the law is you use you pay and everybody in Ghana is entitled to use and also entitled to pay, it’s as simple as that and that’s fairness”.

Mr. Kapito cautioned Ghanaians over their heavy reliance on the government for freebies. According to him, there is nothing government gives for free.

“Anytime government tells PURC don’t push it on or pass on to consumers is not free, it is set aside we pay at the end of the day; this free water and free electricity that they gave us during the covid we are paying for it. Government is not a charity, government will find money and let you pay taxes for him to offset it so we should not be all happy it’s just a relief instead of you paying it today you pay it tomorrow” he stated.

Residents of Tamale kick against proposed tariff increase

Executive Secretary of the PURC, Dr. Ishmael Ackah, on his part said there have been varied opinions since they started the public engagement with complaints of poor customer services by the utility companies among other concerns adding that as a regulatory commission they will continue to engage the service providers on how they can improve on customer service.

“The feedback we are getting so far is varied however the main concern has been customer service, so if I apply for a meter and I don’t know a big man how long does it take to get it? If I face a challenge and I come to you how responsive is the utility taking customer concerns?” He said.