Whilst the regulator has given March 15 for electricity tariff reductions to take effect, the ECG has said it can only implement the adjustment beginning April 1, arguing that setting aside its monthly billing cycle could create billing discrepancies.
Speaking at a press briefing in Accra, Managing Director of ECG, Samuel Boakye-Appiah, said: “the monthly billing cycle of the prepayment metering system does not technically allow ECG to implement the review in the middle of a month.”
Consequently, he said, prepaid customers of ECG should note that the programming of the billing system will refund the reduction from the implementation date of the 15th to 31st March 2018, when they purchase electricity from April 1, 2018 onwards.
He, however, warned consumers not to expect the average percentage reduction of 17.5 per cent for residential, 30 per cent for non-residential, 25 per cent for Special Load Tariff Customers and 10 per cent for the mines, because it does not include statutory levies and other fixed charges.
“The addition of statutory levies and other fixed charges will reduce the average percentage relief announced by the PURC,” he added.
Mr Boakye-Appiah explained that the prepayment system will detect aggregate purchase for consumers on the month of March, and then compute the reduction due them, from the effective date of 15th March to 31st March. This, he said, will be refunded on the consumer’s next visit to vending point.
Meanwhile, ECG has catalogued all unit consumption and expected cost in a “reckoner” which clearly explains how the tariff is calculated and billed regardless of the type of metering.
“This will be displayed at all district offices and revenue centres nationwide to guide consumers on their electricity purchases”, Mr Boakye-Appiah said.
The Managing Director assured the public that ECG will not hesitate to go back to the PURC if the implementation of the tariff reduction leads to losses.
Last week, the PURC announced a general reduction in electricity tariffs. The announcement was met with mixed reactions from the general public. While some commended the move and said it could help businesses reverse their worsening fortunes, others said it could cripple the ECG and other power sector entities financially.