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Cost of Living: 120% utility price hikes kicks off today

The commission, last week, increased the price of electricity by 59.2 percent and 67.2 percent in water, a move that was not free of stiff opposition by consumers and industry.

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Ghanaians will from Monday 14th December pay higher tariffs for utillites. This is because the  120 percent increment in utilities as sanctioned by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission takes effect from today.

The commission, last week, increased the price of electricity by 59.2 percent and 67.2 percent in water, a move that was not free of stiff opposition by consumers and industry.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) will Monday meet officials of the PURC over the recent increments. The TUC says the increment is ill-timed and wants its implementation postponed till next year.

Today’s meeting according to the TUC Deputy Secretary Dr. Yaw Baah, is to impress on the PURC to reduce the tariffs.

In an interview with Accra- based Citi FM,  Dr. Yaw Baah said “We have been going back and forth, back and forth and I can tell you we did not get the 400 for water and the 200 and over for electricity and we are still talking about 59% which means that we really are almost hitting the target so we will continue the dialogue. If we can dialogue in a nice environment why should we go and jump on the streets?”

The Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry also believes businesses are likely to fold up following recent increment in utility tariffs, President of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Seth Adjei Baah has said.

According to him, the decision to increase utility tariffs is shocking as already some companies have laid off workers as a result of irregular power supply.

Meanwhile, there are other industry players who feel that the increase is not high enough to address the problems of utility distribution in the country.

 One of such players is the former Volta River Authority (VRA) boss Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby who says the utility price increment announced by the Public Utility and Regulatory Commission (PURC) is “too small”.

He argued that the increment should have been higher saying, “ They are absolutely justified and I expected it to be even double what they were. There is a 99% depreciation of the currency. Ninety per cent of the inputs that produce power are foreign exchange based like all business people in Ghana they denote and charge do we want to see the death of the utilities?”  

Speaking on Joy FM, Dr. Wereko-Brobby said if these increments are not accepted, the utility companies will collapse.

The PURC has announced electricity tariffs will be increased by 59.2 % , while that of water will go up by 67.2 % for residential consumers.  The changes will take effect from December 14, 2015.

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