Cold store operators in Kumasi kick against electricity tariff increment


…threaten illegal power connection to avoid paying more

Some cold store operators at the Asafo Market in Kumasi have threatened resorting to illegal electricity connections in a bid to swerve the recent utility tariff increment.

They claim the operating environment is already prohibitively expensive due to depreciation of the cedi and rising inflation, which has already driven most of them to the brink of closure.

They therefore suggested that the relevant bodies, particularly the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), should reevaluate their decision; warning that they will have to apply whatever means necessary to survive.

“The tariff increment will really affect our operations at the cold stores negatively. Electricity is already expensive and our products – fish, chicken, sausages etc. – too, are expensive and we need the power to preserve them. If government increases the power tariff, then it is asking us to close down our cold stores,” Sister Adwoa, a cold store operator at Asafo, told the B&FT.

“Already, our customers find it difficult to purchase the products due to their expensive nature. The price of products increased in the latter part of last year due to the cedi depreciation and rise in inflation, so most of our customers lost their capital.

“Therefore, when we increase our price it will be difficult for them to afford it. That is why we are pleading with government not to go ahead with the increment. If government goes ahead to increase the electricity tariffs, then illegal connections will be on the rise because we can’t buy the light and we don’t want to close down our cold stores; so the only thing is for us to do illegal connections,” another cold store owner who gave his name as Frankie told the B&FT in an interview.

Another cold store operator, who prefers to be called ‘Wofa Atta’, for his part pleaded with government to be considerate to businessmen who use electricity as their main source of power for their work.

“For those of us who use electricity as our main source of power to work, we already buy a huge amount of power, around GH¢6,000 a month. We are pleading with government to help us. Electricity is very expensive these days, and that is what we use to help preserve our products – that is chicken, fish etc.; especially for those of us who deal in fish, we do not put off our fridge. If the increment goes ahead, we will be forced to put off our fridges; and when we do that, some of the fish will go bad, and this will force us to increase the price of our products as well,” Wofa Atta said.

Widespread outcries have greeted PURC’s announcement of an upward adjustment of electricity and water tariff by 29.96 percent and 8.3 percent respectively, effective February 1, 2023.

According to PURC, the new adjustments announced as part of the Quarterly Tariff Review Mechanism and Guidelines were occasioned by unfavourable macroeconomic factors such as inflation and currency depreciation, and their resulting effect on raw material imports.

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