The Minority in Parliament is demanding the immediate suspension of what they describe as clandestine hikes in electricity tariffs.

According to them, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has secretly adjusted some charges on the blind side of consumers.

Speaking in an interview with JoyNews’ Parliamentary Correspondent, Kwesi Parker-Wilson, the Ranking Member on the Energy and Mines Committee, John Jinapor observed that the price hikes have been in force since the beginning of February this year without the knowledge of the consumers, a situation he described as insensitive.

He also observed that the charges are unlawful and will further compound the burden of consumers.

“My checks indicate that ECG has started some price adjustments with their services and charges. And this came to my attention today. My checks indicated that indeed, they’re charging some new fees on what they call, new service connection charges.

These are ten different line items. By the PURC Act, it’s only the PURC that can approve tariffs or fees or charges in relation to electricity and its related services. And when they do that, they’re supposed to inform consumers.

And so how they can clandestinely increase these service charges without recourse to the general public baffles some of us. It’s inappropriate, it’s unfortunate, and ought not to happen.

And so what we’re requesting and asking the PURC and these service providers to do is to suspend it. They should suspend these increments with immediate effect, other than that we’ll use whatever Parliamentary processes that are necessary to ensure that the right thing is done”, he stated.

ECG in a recent publication announced new connection charges beginning February 1, 2022.

But the Yapie-Kusawgu MP noted that there are plans to haul the Sector Minister and officials of PURC before the House if they ignore calls to suspend the new charges.

According to him, even if ECG believes that the charges are justifiable, they must employ the appropriate procedures in effecting an increment.

“If you want to increase any service fee or charge, it ought to be done within due process. Within law. In accordance with law, and ensure that the right thing is done. And so, they cannot increase that clandestinely. Consumers and customers, must know.

If you have a legitimate cause to increase, we must know, then the rates. You cannot just increase them by such astronomical heights and expect that we’ll keep quiet. The Committee will ensure that the right thing is done.

And so we want PURC to suspend the implementation immediately, and ensure that they negotiate and discuss and seek the opinions of Ghanaians and also take the current difficult economic situation into consideration. That is even why you don’t need to be coming on with these hikes. It’s unacceptable.”, he added.

The NDC lawmaker further intimated that even though the Public Utility and Regulatory Commission (PURC) is an independent body, it cannot act on its own accord.