The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) has greeted the announced increment in water and electricity tariffs by the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) with discontent citing wrong timing and excessive percentage increase.
Chief Executive Officer of CPA, Mr. Kofi Kapito in an interview on 3FM Sunrise on Tuesday 17 January 2023 described the 8.3% and 29.96% increase in water and electricity tariffs respectively as untimely and astronomical.
“The issue is not about that increase that is being proposed but the issue is about the timing in my opinion and I think a lot of people share this opinion. We are being bombarded with a lot of increases at the beginning of the year. Insurance is gone up, everybody is trying to up their renewals. I am not against an increase but my problem is the percentage and why at this time. I think it is a little bit difficult for consumers at this” Kofi Kapito reiterated.
“I find it very difficult that we live in a country where increases are always in double digits but in other jurisdictions, you see them in a single digit. If you increase anything by 29%, you can justify it but is it something the people can afford?” he bemoaned
The CEO of CPA appreciated the work of PURC as a regulator seeking to protect both the utility and the rights of the consumer. However, he says he is not pleased with consumers being told for a very long time to pay a lot more so that things would be improved. He shared the view that if ECG is able to remedy some of the technical challenges they are faced with and later come to consumers for some cushioning, that’s fine.
Kapito noted that it is the mandate of the regulator to see to it that they do the quarterly reviews but it is not always that it should go up and sometimes we can defer the review in order to cushion the crying public because it is not the right time.
Kofi Kapito further argued that people are losing value on their money because of the cedi depreciation hence there should be a better way to cushion everybody.
He told Helen Appiah Ampofo on 3FM Sunrise Morning Show that he is happy that the implementation of the new tariffs announced by the PURC is rather going to take effect in February since it allows the Consumer Protection Agency to engage with the PURC.
Mr. Kapito said the flow of water has not been consistent compared to electricity therefore an increase in water tariff shouldn’t come in at all. “Water is being rationed and people are not getting water. What is the Ghana Water Company doing that they think that they deserve an increase?” he questioned
The CEO of CPA also advised people to volunteer and report those engaged in illegal connections but underscore the need for the utility companies to be proactive and pragmatic in their operations.