General News of Monday, 13 June 2016
No electricity consumer should pay beyond a 92 per cent tariff hike, the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament has said.
The Vice Chairman of the Committee, Adam Mutawakilu told Joy FM’s Parliamentary Correspondent Elton John Brobbey the approved hike imposed by the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) is 59 percent, but there are other taxes by government and hikes imposed by ECG, which has increased the price hikes all the more.
The breakdown of the taxes include the energy sector levy, 5 percent; street light levy 5 percent, government and rural electricity levies. There was also the removal of a 10 percent subsidy and an imposition of 17.5 percent VAT levy all of which have increased the tariffs. But the Committee deputy chair insists the ECG also has imposed service and capacity charges all of which cumulatively have taken the tariff hikes to around 92 percent.
Mutawakilu said on no account should any consumer be made to pay beyond 92 per cent.
However, there have been many complaints of over 100 per cent price hikes across the country with some claiming to be paying over a 1000 per cent hikes.
The Mines and Energy Committee is, therefore, looking into the outrageous electricity price hikes that have seen officials of ECG and those at the PURC having a go at each other.
The PURC blamed the abnormal hikes on a faulty billing software, something officials of the ECG have been quick to dispute.
The PURC then directed the Corporation to stop the use of the faulty software and take steps to address the abnormal billing system.
While apologising for the anomalies in the billing system, the ECG in a public service advertisement said its metering system is comparable to any across the world, and they go through rigorous national and international procedures before they are installed.
The Managing Director of the Company, Mr Robert Dwamena said in 2013, ECG acquired a new software to replace an old system which was believed to have become obsolete.
“When you roll out any system there are bound to be some initial challenges. ECG is no different, he said, adding there have been some anomalies with the new bills.
He said the company has issued about 8 million bills out of which only 7823 had some billing anomalies.
He said a little over 3000 of the complaints have been resolved with some 4000 to be addressed by the end of June.
He charged consumers who still have challenges to contact the ECG help centre for their challenges to be resolved.