General News of 2014-06-25

ICU backs latest tariff increments

The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) has welcomed the proposed increment in electricity and water tariffs.

ICU’s General Secretary, Solomon Kotei, told Joy News the Union will support the implementation of the new rates which take effect from July 1.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission on Wednesday announced the increment in tariffs in line with the automatic adjustment formula; 12 percent for electricity and 6.1 for water in a third quarter review.

Public Affairs and External Relations Director of the PURC, Nana Yaa Gyantua, explained to Joy News the increment has become necessary as gains made by the utility providers have been eroded by the depreciation of the cedi.

“The exchange rate alone accounts for almost 19% of the tariff that we have calculated,” she said, adding the service providers need the increments to restore the value of their tariffs.

“The increment will not bring a change, but it is going to restore and maintain the situation so that things don’t get worse,” she said, hoping Ghana would start producing its own gas to complement power generation.

Nana Yaa Gyantua, however, advised consumers to reserve energy, stating how a recent energy conservation campaign was able to save about 60 megawatts of power a day.

The ICU also shares the need to adjust tariffs upward. It’s General Secretary Solomon Kotei has, for instance, commended the PURC for even showing human face in the latest increments because the Union, he said, had anticipated higher tariffs.

The increments should have been 31 percent for electricity and 12 for water but after a meeting today, the Commission decided to implement the suspended increments for the second quarter.

“For once, we are all aware we are not in normal times; the economy is in total shambles, and if this is what they can do to at least give us the power as we are having now, we will say kudos to them even though the direct effect on our pocket is not going to be the best,” he assessed the situation.

Workers have, therefore, been urged by Solomon Kotei “to try and see how we can economize our consumption” of these utilities.

Source: myjoyonline
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