144% Electricity Hike Too Much – Consumers
VRA/NEDCo, inaugurated in May 2012 and operates in the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and West and parts of the Volta, Ashanti and Western Regions with two-thirds coverage of the entire country, has since been holding public forums in all its operational areas to sensitize the public ahead of the possible upward adjustment and also to listen to the sentiments of the people to better inform their decisions.
At the forum held last Tuesday at Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region, the public were for the increment, but they were shocked at the quantum of the adjustment.
The chief of Techiman-Krobo, Nana Oyeadeyie Asa Akompanin, who chaired the function, advised VRA/NEDCo to reconsider the high tariffs increase proposal since it would be too much for customers to bear.
According to the chief, the service provider could gradually increase tariffs annually to help meet their operational cost instead of pushing everything on customers to pay at a go.
He however commended VRA/NEDCo for improved service delivery and called on them to organise such a regular intercourse with the public to serve as a feedback to enhance their services.
VRA/NEDCo proposed a review of the distribution service charge from the existing figure of GHp9.88kWh (per kilowatt hour) to GHp24.07kWh, representing 144 percent subject to the approval of the Public Utility and Regulatory Commission (PURC).
The upward review of the distribution service charge, according to the Public Relations Manager of the company, Alhaji M.E. Siam, would among other things improve service delivery, help them to provide each community with a power sub-station and provide prepaid meters to per each individual customer.
Making a presentation on VRA/NEDCo on the theme, 'Power Distribution In Northern Ghana - The Past, Present And The Future,' on behalf of the Brong Ahafo Regional Director of the company, Ing. Noble Dormenu, the PR manager said the vision of VRA/NEDCo is to become the leading utility for providing electricity distribution service in Ghana and the West African sub-region.
He disclosed that VRA/NEDCo currently supplies electricity to some communities in Northern part of Togo Burkina Faso.
Alhaji Siam stated that for the company to achieve its set vision, it is constructing 8no. 34.5/11.5kV substations across its operational area, improving IT services, improving availability of resources for maintenance and service connections, among others.
According to him, a number of good things have happened coupled with the ongoing projects over the one year after the company was inaugurated which have gone a long way to improve service.
He said the company had been able to improve quality of service to 150 communities/locations throughout the country through Distribution Network Rehabilitation Project (DNRP-1), while there is an ongoing quality of service enhancement projects at Buipe Substation, NSIRP, NPSIP, among others.
The various utility providers, namely VRA, Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Ghana Water Company, and the VRA/NEDCo have tabled various proposals to the PURC for a review of tariffs to enable them meet operational cost.
The PURC has announced that it has reached consensus with stakeholders for upward adjustment in electricity tariffs after engaging key stakeholders across the country on the issue.
However, the public have complained of poor quality of service indicating that they would support the upward adjustments in tariffs if the service utility companies would improve their service delivery.
FROM Fred Tettey Alarti-Amoako, Techiman
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