The Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) has assured industry players of working to resolve concerns associated with utility tariffs that has caused dissatisfaction among businesses.
It follows the increased agitations that have characterised the commission and other utility providers over the rather excessive rate of increase.
The PURC in 2015 sanctioned an increase of 59.2 percent and 67.2 percent for electricity and water respectively.
But businesses including the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), have expressed their displeasure over what they say is the astronomical rise in the cost of utility.
They contend the situation will force them out of business if government does not intervene.
But addressing a meeting involving the AGI and various utility service providers, the Director of Regulatory Economics at the PURC, Dr. Simon Akorli assured,
“After the announcement of the tariff, we have heard several complains and most of the complains were specific to billing errors among other issues. We have been addressing that on continuous bases and we assure you that we are still addressing them,” he said.
The 2016 first quarter business quarter barometer report released by the AGI cited cost of utility as the first among the top five threats facing businesses in Ghana.
Some large institutions in the hospitality and medical sectors including Kempinski Hotel, Holiday Inn Hotel and MedLab also bemoaned the impact of the high utility cost on their businesses.
They also threatened to lay off workers if the situation persists.
Speaking to Citi Business News, CEO of AGI, Seth Twum Akwaboah maintained,
“I wouldn’t say government should take all the tariffs and levies off, but I think that it is becoming obvious that the cost of electricity today is very expensive but the key component is the levies that are also being imposed,”
“When these charges are passed onto businesses, it has serious effect on operations. We need to have a second look at all these levies especially on electricity charges. If we are able to reduce it, then it could bring down the cost of energy,” he stated.
Some members of AGI have also backed calls for a reduction in the utility tariffs.
Dr. Katley of MedLab decried the destruction the development is having on her equipment.
“I have some very expensive equipment that I need to maintain but power spike, low voltage, high voltage are destroying them. So my equipment is only lasting half as many years as the same equipment will last abroad so it is very difficult to operate in this environment.”
An official with Kempinski Hotel, Anil also stated,
“The quality of power we get must be worked on. That is where our equipment is affected. Indirectly, we are paying 10-15% more charges due to the instability of the voltage. If the voltage is stabilised, we could possibly save almost GHc100, 000 for a month. Indirectly the consumers are affected too.”
Meanwhile the PURC has chastised the AGI for impeding their work in their bid to address their concerns.
The Commission believes it could be more efficient in meeting the demands of the businesses when they cooperate with the process.
By: Jessica Ayorkor Aryee/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana