President John Mahama yesterday announced that the anomalies in the electricity billing system have been resolved, and that consumers should expect a reduction in bills from July 1.
According to President Mahama, remedial measures to resolve issues of overbilling have been implemented, and Ghanaians would start experiencing relief from July 1 when a new billing cycle would commence.
President Mahama made the announcement while addressing hundreds of residents and traders at the Madina market where he visited yesterday on resumption of his “Accounting to the People” tour of the Greater Accra Region.
Following a public outcry about recent anomalies in the electricity bills and over running prepaid meters that left consumers with astronomical charges, President Mahama set up an Inter-Agency Taskforce to investigate the situation and recommend remedial solutions.
The taskforce is said to have submitted its report and recommendations about two weeks ago, and according to the President, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) was implementing a new billing cycle which would address concerns of overbilling.
“I have given them the opportunity to go ahead to implement the solutions they have come up with,” President Mahama told the gathering, and asked the citizenry to exercise patience.
“Because the electricity billing is done in monthly cycles, they have to start on the first of a month with the billing cycle. So I have asked Ghanaians to exercise patience, from July 1 they would start the new billing cycle and I’m sure that a lot of us will see some relief in the electricity bills,” he added.
Aside the anomalies in the billing system, President Mahama further explained that the increasing cost of electricity was partly attributable to the low level of water in the hydro power dams, which has left the country with no option than to rely heavily on thermal energy production with its associated high cost of production.
“But we are praying that this year the rains would be good so that the dams would recover. As we put in cheaper hydro power we will adjust the tariff to reflect the cheaper power we are getting.”
“I therefore ask Ghanaians to exercise patience. Government is sensitive to what is going on and we would do our best to give them some relief,” President Mahama stressed.
On the provision of social amenities, President Mahama promised that the government would build a hospital, a senior high school and a modern market for Madina.
According to him, the development of Madina was a key priority area for the government, adding that the Madina Polyclinic expansion project would soon be completed as stated in his State of the Nation Address.
In addition, he said a new and bigger hospital being built at Atomic would soon be completed to cater for the health needs of the growing population in that zone of Accra.
Also, he explained that the Madina roads would be asphalted soon, while a new market would be built under a Private Public Partnership agreement as was done in Ho, Cape Coast and Kumasi
With regard to education, he announced that a new senior high school would be built Danfa to cater for the education needs of the residents.
From Madina, he moved to Atomic where he inspected the progress of work on the New Atomic District Hospital, and also inspected the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Terminal in Ofankor, as well as called on the Amasaman Mantse.
He earlier made a brief stop at Nima where he interacted with Muslim leaders, residents and traders on pertinent development issues. He also inspected the Ridge Hospital project.
The President had to suspend his tour of the region following the sudden demise of his mother last week. The resumption of the tour comes after the burial of his mother which was done last Friday in accordance with Muslim traditions.
Meanwhile, scores of residents of Nungua, Teshie, La, all in Accra, hit the streets yesterday to protest against the high electricity tariffs.
Clad in red apparels, wielding placards and chanting ‘jama’ songs, the residents demanded immediate reduction in the electricity tariffs.
According to them, the level of tariff increase far exceeds the 59.2 per cent announced by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) some months ago.
Some inscriptions on the placards read “EGC eegbe wo”-to wit, ‘Electricity Company of Ghana is killing us’. Another read: “Beauticians and hairdressers are suffering”.
Some of the protesters said they have exhausted the necessary channels for a resolution of the problem, hence the demonstration.
The aggrieved residents marched to the office of the Municipal Chief Executive to petition the President, to order an immediate reduction in the tariffs, especially, for prepaid customers.
The petition was reportedly received by aides of the Municipal Chief Executive of Ledzokuku Krowor municipality (LEKMA), Mr Seth Badu Tawiah.
By Edmund Mingle