Consumers of utility services in Ashanti Region have joined voices across the country, demanding a reduction in the proposed tariff increment.
Poor service delivery by utility service providers and high cost of living were major concerns raised by the consumers during the multi-tariff review meeting held in Kumasi.
However, the utility companies maintain the increased cost of production and higher forex exchange rates over the years are affecting their services.
They argue the present cost of production does not commensurate previously agreed tariffs.
The consultative meeting by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) was met with mixed reactions from consumers.
Many are not enthused about the proposed tariff increment by utility service providers.
The consumers say given the recent high cost of living, they are imploring these service providers to reduce the proposed rates.
Kwabena Agyemang says “he unhappy how the utility companies quickly demand for their payments but do not inform the public when they are about switching of the lights,”
Another consumer, Obeng Asamoah indicated that “we, the farmers, are bearing the brunt. The country is now expensive to live in. They should consider a reduction”.
The Electricity Company of Ghana, ECG, is proposing a 148% increment in tariffs to cover the period of 2019 and 2022.
The Ghana Water Company Limited also requests its tariffs to go up by 343%.
The utility service providers maintain the high cost of production with increasing forex exchange have incurred many losses to the companies.
Chief Manager (Commercial) for the Ghana Water Company Limited, Cynthia Afoley Ackah says the company has to purchase high chemicals for treating water.
“Galamsey activities are the main causes of these pollutions. The polluted water flow from these areas into the cities. The industries are also releasing their effluents into the drains which end up in major water bodies.
“We have to change the local currencies to foreign ones to buy the chemicals but the increasing rate is affecting the amount we use in purchasing the chemicals,” she said.
The Electricity Company of Ghana also justified that “Inflation is on high, cost of materials and fuel prices are going up too,” said Grace Garshong, Communication manager – Ashanti SBU.
Executive Secretary for the PURC, Dr. Ismael Ackah, says measures are being adopted to provide satisfactory services to consumers.
“September this year (2022), we will be introducing customer service clinics to have customers with minor challenges addressed.
“The utility service providers will get the opportunity to educate the consumers on these petty challenges they face,” he said.
The Commission’s Public Hearing in Kumasi on the proposed Tariff Review for 2022-2027 is the fourth after Accra, Ho, and Takoradi.
It is series of nationwide public hearings to enable utility companies explain to consumers the rationale for the proposed tariff increment.