Increasing tariffs can trigger social upheavals – TUC

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has asked the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) not to approve the proposed tariffs by the utility companies for this year, 2022.

That, the union said was because the country was in challenging times and as such, increasing tariffs could trigger social upheavals.

“This is not the time for a major review of utility tariffs. What we need are measures that will reduce waste to the barest minimum and infuse efficiency in the operations of the utility companies that will help to sustain them over a long period of time,” the Union stated.

This was contained in the TUC’s submission to the PURC on the proposed tariffs by utility companies and copied to the Ghanaian Times in Accra on Monday.

The Volta River Authority (VRA) has asked for a 37 per cent increment; Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCO) has proposed 48 per cent while the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is demanding 148 per cent increase in tariffs.

The Northern Electricity Development Company (NEDCO)is also demanding 113 per cent increase for 2022 while the Ghana Water Company Limited(GWCL)is seeking an increase in water tariff of more than 300 per cent.

These utility service providers have argued that the rising prices of commodities and the depreciation of the cedi have increased their cost of operations far above their revenues.

They also justified the astronomical increases they were seeking by the need to undertake critical investments and upgrade of their infrastructure.

The TUC has, therefore, said that the economic, social and political implications of the proposals could be too costly for the country as they had “a great potential to turn the economic crisis into social and political crisis that will be more difficult to address.”

For that reason, the Union recommended that the ECG collected its revenues, stopped illegal connections and close the gap between its billing and electricity sales.

It also urged the GWCL to do more metering and stop charging flat rates, adding that the government must consider absorbing some of the losses of the utilities arising out of the current levels of inflation and currency depreciation.

“Government must also provide the needed resources to enable the utilities to undertake the critical investments in generation, transmission and distribution of both electricity and water,” the statement stated.

“Government must ensure a comprehensive review of the contract for the Desalination Project to make it fair to Ghana,” it added.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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