The National Organiser of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), John Boadu, has said the government should quit the “hypocrisy” of blaming the high cost of electricity tariffs in the country on overbilling of electricity consumption by faulty software belonging to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
There have been numerous complaints by electricity consumers of having to fork out more for electricity than the 59.2 per cent increase in power tariffs in January 2016 by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), followed by an additional 10 per cent service charge for electricity.
The PURC, intervening to stop public complaints by customers, ordered the ECG to withdraw its billing software, which it believed was the cause of the problem.
President John Mahama, also reacting Thursday May 26, said Cabinet had set up an Inter-Agency Task Force to deal with the issue.
“Cabinet today [Thursday] approved the Inter-Agency Taskforce put together to resolve complaints from the public regarding the bills and charges being received from the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) in respect of our consumption of power,” he said.
“Following our very detailed and exhaustive discussions in Cabinet this morning [Thursday], we approved the steps taken by the Ministry of Power, and expect the Taskforce, which comprises the Energy Commission, the ECG, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) and other stakeholders to submit its report and solution on June 3, 2016 for immediate implementation.
“The present situation has to end, and I assure my fellow Ghanaians that this too, like other challenges we have faced together, will be fixed.”
But Mr Boadu, who is also acting as his party’s general secretary following the suspension of Mr Kwabena Agyapong believed it was all a ruse by officialdom.
Speaking Friday May 27, 2016, on Ghana Yensom, Accra100.5FM’s morning show, he said: “The problem is not just about software. It’s about excessive levies and taxes on the service. It is about us not having alternative cheaper sources of energy to power our electricity. So, that is where you have to give us alternatives. It’s about levies that are regressive. And these are things within the powers of the government… [Reversing the situation requires] immediate action and the PURC has the power to take decisions; they should stop the hypocrisy.”
He wondered what difference the PURC’s order to ECG to withdraw the software would make. “If they withdraw the use of the software, then what happens?” he asked.
In his view, there were options available to government to reduce the cost of electricity and ease the burden on Ghanaians if it really intended to realise that ambition, saying: “There are clear alternatives and the clear alternatives are that the government is over-milking the dying cow.”
He urged Ghanaians to vote for the NPP and Nana Akufo-Addo in the upcoming presidential elections to ensure the implementation of “sound economic policies that will stabilise our currency” in the event of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo party taking over the reins of the country.