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PURC defends power tariff reductions

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Dr. Ishmael Ackah, the PURC's Executive Secretary, emphasised that the reviews followed the Commission's Quarterly Tariff Review (QTR) Mechanism. This method monitors and includes changes in important uncontrollable variables such as the US dollar-to-Ghana cedi exchange rate, local inflation rate, energy generating mix, and fuel costs, particularly natural gas. Dr. Ackah stated that the QTR attempts to guarantee that utilities recover their revenues, which include allocations for operating and maintenance costs, capital expenditure, and other substantial regulatory costs.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has stated the rationale for the tariff review in the first quarter of 2024.

On February 28, the commission announced a small reduction in home electricity tariffs, while keeping current rates for lifeline users (0-30 kWh) and residential consumers (0-300 kWh).

PURC stated that the small tariff reduction of 6.56% would benefit residential clients who use more than 301 kWh.

According to a March 5 announcement, the PURC assessed present energy and water pricing on February 27, 2024. The increased tariffs will take effect from April 1 to June 30, 2024.

Dr. Ishmael Ackah, the PURC’s Executive Secretary, emphasised that the reviews followed the Commission’s Quarterly Tariff Review (QTR) Mechanism. This method monitors and includes changes in important uncontrollable variables such as the US dollar-to-Ghana cedi exchange rate, local inflation rate, energy generating mix, and fuel costs, particularly natural gas.

Dr. Ackah stated that the QTR attempts to guarantee that utilities recover their revenues, which include allocations for operating and maintenance costs, capital expenditure, and other substantial regulatory costs.

Another main goal of the QTR for April to June 2024 is to cut existing residential tariff bands to eliminate cross-subsidies, to reduce non-residential class bands to two, and to lower industrial tariff bands to encourage productive power consumption.

Dr Ackah stated that these tariff band reductions will simplify the application and understanding of authorised tariff bands, thus making metres more inexpensive to customers.

He further stated that the QTR seeks to collect the complete income required for the period April to June 2024. Despite the expected Ghana Cedi loss against the US dollar in the quarter (December 2023 – February 2024), the projected inflation rate fell from 40.43% to 28.27%.

In the QTR for April to June 2024, the estimated hydro-thermal generation mix was modified from 31.91% to 34.81% for hydro and 68.09% to 65.19% for thermal.

Dr Ackah stated that these adjustments, together with steady petrol prices, imply that utilities would experience a revenue boost. As a result, the PURC used the expected surplus to combine several rate bands across different power customer classes.

Despite these revisions, he stated that the lifeline tariff customer group, as well as the Low Voltage (LV) and Mines customer groups, saw no changes to their pricing for the April to June 2024 tariff review period.

Dr. Ackah highlighted that only a few residential and High Voltage (HV) customers got their power costs reduced during the review period, whereas Steel Companies clients would see their bills increase by more than 30%. Other consumers saw small upward modifications.

He asked the public to avoid falsehoods that tariff reductions for a select consumer category will increase the energy sector’s problems. He guaranteed that the PURC is concerned with the financial viability of all utilities, as well as the well-being of paying customers.

He went on to say that higher tariffs do not always result in lower energy sector indebtedness or guaranteed payments to Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

Rather, the distribution businesses must collect the permitted rates before making payments to the IPPs.

READ THE FULL STATEMENT ON TARIFF ADJUSTMENT HERE_

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The president needs to show leadership to stop ‘dumsor’ – Agyeman-Duah

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Professor Agyeman-Duah also chastised the administration for the slow speed at which it is addressing electricity concerns. He argues that given the frequency of power outages, the government should have taken a more serious approach to finding long-term solutions, but this has not been the case.

Professor Baffior Agyeman-Duah, a Governance Expert, has urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to show leadership by summoning all major players in the power sector, including the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRDCo), the Volta River Authority (VRA), and the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC), and giving them marching orders to resolve the power crisis.

He believes he’ll be astonished if the president hasn’t done so already.

Speaking on the Ghana Tonight broadcast on TV3 on Monday, April 22, Prof Ageyman Duah remarked, “I will be surprised that the president has not called the leadership of the VRA, GRIDCo, ECG, and PURC, to sit them down to give them the marching order that he doesn’t like what they are doing.

“That is leadership, we need the president to be giving the marching orders. As I said, if he has done it privately I don’t know but based on the public pronouncements by these state agencies in charge of the energy sector, it seems like he hasn’t done that.”

Professor Agyeman-Duah also chastised the administration for the slow speed at which it is addressing electricity concerns.

He argues that given the frequency of power outages, the government should have taken a more serious approach to finding long-term solutions, but this has not been the case.

He went on to say “The government hasn’t been too active in seeking solutions to problems”

Prof. Baffour Agyeman-Duah also urged the state power distributor, the ECG, to produce a load-shedding schedule.

This, he believes, will help power consumers arrange their lives more effectively.

“The wise thing to do is to issue a timetable,” Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah said.

Meanwhile, Richard Ahiagbah, Director of Communications for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has stated that power shortages in certain areas of the country are annoying.

However, he stated that there is light at the end of the tunnel for the problem.

Mr Ahiagbah ascribed the problem to the Electricity Company of Ghana’s (ECG) maintenance work.

He told us that the job would be done quickly.

“The recent power outages have been understandably frustrating. However, there is an end in sight. The maintenance works are almost complete, and we can soon expect access to an uninterrupted power supply around the clock, as we have become accustomed to under the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia Administration.”

Regarding the criticism that members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have made against the administration over the outages, he stated, “The NDC is the last political organization to point fingers because Ghana has not forgotten the hurts of the ‘real dumsor,’ suffered under H.E. Mahama.

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Gomoa Akotsi: Truck collides with a police car, killing one and injuring several others

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It struck a Chinese national's car before colliding with a police vehicle stationed on the side of the road near Akotsi Junction. An eyewitness, Nai Appiah Nortey, told Citi News that several cops were in the parked police car and two more were in the trunk. The police were said to be making purchases nearby when the tragedy happened. "The vehicle was descending from Gomoa Akramah hills towards the Akotsi junction. But it suddenly lost control, crossed the main road, and collided with a police vehicle sitting on the shoulder of the road. It pulled the police vehicle and then parked in front of a business.

A collision on the road between Gomoa Akramah and Akoti Junction in the Gomoa East District, Central Region, is said to have killed one police officer and badly wounded many others.

According to sources, a KIA Rhino truck (registration number GX 4135-24) had a braking failure and went off track.

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It struck a Chinese national’s car before colliding with a police vehicle stationed on the side of the road near Akotsi Junction.

An eyewitness, Nai Appiah Nortey, told Citi News that several cops were in the parked police car and two more were in the trunk. The police were said to be making purchases nearby when the tragedy happened.

“The vehicle was descending from Gomoa Akramah hills towards the Akotsi junction. But it suddenly lost control, crossed the main road, and collided with a police vehicle sitting on the shoulder of the road. It pulled the police vehicle and then parked in front of a business.

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“There were some police officers in the trunk of the truck, and some even fell out as soon as the collision occurred. “One person has died, and the rest, including the Chinese national, have been rushed to the Trauma and Specialist Hospital in Winneba,” Nai Appiah Nortey said.

The Central East Regional Operations commander and other senior officials came on the spot to evaluate the magnitude of the damage.

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Calls for Napo’s removal as Energy minister intensifies

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“Where we have gotten to, there is no circuit and so what is the use of the minister in that space? He must be relieved, probably to concentrate on any other agenda he is bidding for. He must be relieved of his post. It is becoming too much. Is it not insulting with the statement that he made? Total disrespect to consumers. Are we asking for too much? “For God’s sake, I am a prepaid consumer. I have paid for that power that you need to supply me. In fact, you chose to put a meter in my house at a fee, that is also a contract in a form, and he chose to take my money in advance. “If I am not going to get the power, then just out of respect, at least tell me when I can have the power. But don’t look into my face and say, I should go and produce my own timetable.”

The Institute of Energy Security (IES) has urged for the urgent dismissal of Energy Minister Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, citing the escalating energy situation.

According to the IES, the current status of the energy industry demands immediate action, leading to their call for the minister’s removal.

Nana Amoasi VII, Executive Director of IES, voiced concern with the minister’s apparent delay in an interview with Eyewitness News on Monday.

He emphasised the minister’s apparent separation from the realities of the energy situation, raising the question of his position in such a key location.

“Where we have gotten to, there is no circuit and so what is the use of the minister in that space? He must be relieved, probably to concentrate on any other agenda he is bidding for. He must be relieved of his post. It is becoming too much. Is it not insulting with the statement that he made? Total disrespect to consumers. Are we asking for too much?

“For God’s sake, I am a prepaid consumer. I have paid for that power that you need to supply me. In fact, you chose to put a meter in my house at a fee, that is also a contract in a form, and he chose to take my money in advance.

“If I am not going to get the power, then just out of respect, at least tell me when I can have the power. But don’t look into my face and say, I should go and produce my own timetable.”

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