Customers disappointed at increase in utility tariffs

The increase in utility tariffs as announced by the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC), has attracted public comments and reactions.

We bring to our readers the views of consumers as captured by our various correspondents.

A section of the public has expressed disappointment in the decision to increase water and electricity tariffs, citing the high cost of living in the country as a reason why the decision must be rescinded, reports RaissaSambou and Abigail Arthur.

The PURC on Monday announced an increment of the average end user tariffs for electricity by 27.15 and water by 21.55 per cent, effective September 1, 2022.

According to the PURC, the tariff decision for the period 2022-2025 was informed by rigorous analyses, intense debates and extensive consultations.

However, some members of the public, in separate interviews with the Ghanaian Times said though the increment was justified, it came at a wrong time and must be rescinded or postponed.

Mr Samson Oppong, a pupil teacher, said occasionally reviewing tariffs was not wrong, but the timing for everything must be considered, adding that an increment in prices of any service whatsoever further promotes hardship and poverty among the citizenry.

He said “Nobody is saying there must not be an increment in tariffs but the timing is just bad. Cost of living in this country is extremely high. Some of us are just living from hand to mouth and so they should have just postponed this decision. It seems there will never be an end to the suffering of Ghanaians,” he lamented.

Ms Esi Darko, a trader, expressed worry that “almost every month something must be increased to further inconvenience the ordinary Ghanaian.”

She lamented that she had not recovered from the recent increment in fuel prices and now had to face electricity and water bill increment.

The mother of four, who is also a widow, stressed that government must ensure the decision is reconsidered.

Another trader, MrYaw Essum, indicated that due to his inability to easily make ends meet, his 21-year-old son, who completed Senior High School (SHS) was still at home, waiting for him to make enough money to pay for his fees at the university.

He mentioned that it would be difficult for him to get enough money as soon as possible to enable him pay the fees of his ward next year.

“From increment in transport fares, to the rising prices of food stuff, now we are about to face another increment so how can I even save money to support my son’s tertiary education?”he quizzed.

MrRansfordNti, a resident of Weija, bemoaned that street lights on various major streets and communities in the country were not functional and wondered why authorities felt comfortable announcing an increment in electricity tariffs.

He stated that with this increment, the appropriate authorities must ensure “they take us out of this darkness on our streets and in our areas, to protect our lives and properties. Crime rate will reduce if street lights in our neighbourhoods are functional.”

Maame Afia Oppong, a hairdresser, stated that with the increment in both water and electricity tariffs, prices of the services she rendered at her salon will be increased adding that this would surely affect her business negatively.

Already, she said patronage of her salon had declined as customer kept complaining of hardship “so this situation might just kill my business.”

Some residents in Cape Coast have expressed concern about the increase in both electricity and water tariff announced by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) reports David YarboiTetteh.

They explained that the hike in prices would rather worsen the plight of Ghanaians.

Speaking to the Ghanaian Times, Mr Prosper Acquah said the new rates would affect the living conditions of majority of people.

“We are already struggling to pay water and electricity bills and this announcement will rather affect our lives,” he said.

Mr Acquah alleged that the government only pays lip service towards ensuring improvement in the living conditions of Ghanaians, adding, “The announcement of the increment shows otherwise.”

Another resident, Ms Dorcas Addison, said the hike in the rates, would affect majority of households as it would affect their finances.

She said that about 47 per cent increment was detrimental to the sustenance of the livelihood of people.

Ms Addison said even though she was expecting some form of increment, the rates announced were astronomical.

From Wa, Lydia Fordjour Darlington and Rafia Abdul Razak report that consumers of water and electricity in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region have lamented about the increase in utility tariffs, which according to them would affect their living conditions.

The residents who spoke to the Ghanaian Times on Tuesday at Wa said they did not understand the rationale behind the increment in utility bills when there was hardship in the country.

Mr Kwabena Nyame, a civil servant, said the increment had come at the wrong time, considering the current economic hardship and said government should rather be looking for alternative ways to support the citizenry and not add to their burden.

“We are very sad; how they can increase tariffs at this time when people are really suffering to make a living in the face of increased fuel prices,” he said, and urged the utility providers to rather focus on working to improve services to consumers.

A journalist, Nakeeba Moomin, said that the increment was not necessary considering the high cost of living in the country.

“We just woke up and heard that water and electricity bills have been increased and it is a big blow because we are already suffering to make a living as prices of almost everything continue to soar,” she said.

Mariam Issahaku, a trader, lamented that the current economic hardship coupled with hikes in prices of food and other essential commodities were enough burden to the people.

A private sector worker, AdelInusah, suggested that the increment be reversed or the threshold reduced to ensure that the people were less burdened.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission on Monday announced a 21.55 percent and 27.15 percent increment in water and electricity tariffs respectively effective September 1.

FROM DANIEL DZIRASAH SUNYANI 

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