The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) is blaming the worsening power crisis partly on a forced electricity tariff reduction in 2013.
According to Public Affairs Director of the Commission, Nana Yaa Jantuah, a reduction in the tariff by some 30% two years ago following public agitation after an upward review of tariffs deprived the sector essential funds for key investments.
“I always say that we always forget what happened in 2013. In 2013 we increased the tariff to 87.9% and we said that this tariff is going to make sure that there is some improvement in the system. And we also said that if this tariff is touched in anyway there is going to be load shedding. But there were some agitation and by some intervention the tariff was touched”, she recounted at a media interaction in Tamale, the Northern regional capital.
She said instead of the 87.9% the tariff was slashed to a little over 57%, far below the PURC’s estimates for the appropriate tariff.
“Subsequently, everything we have done with automatic adjustment formula we didn’t talk about improvement because we are already in the challenge that we predicted; that we are going to get load shedding. It was to just maintain the value of the existing tariff because of exchange rate issues and also to even maintain the load shedding we were having”, she explained further.
Power consumers are currently undergoing 12-hour on and 24-hour blackout on since January this year in what has been described as the worst in the country’s history.
According to Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), the severe load shedding, popularly called ‘dumsor’ is due to a generation shortfall of more than 500MW, which represents almost a third of the entire 2,000MW needed for distribution.
The situation has forced some electricity consumers to endure days of blackout, while others experience power outages every four to six hours.
Ghana’s industrial enclaves have been hit by the current power crisis.