The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) says it will soon announce the approved water and electricity tariffs for the first quarter of 2023, come January.
Meanwhile, the Commission, on Friday, December 23, would launch a net metering system – an electricity billing mechanism that allows consumers to generate their own electricity to use with respect to renewable energy sources like solar and wind.
The announcement of the quarterly tariff is in line with PURC’s Quarterly Tariff Adjustment (QTA) policy, which is to reflect changes in macroeconomic variables, including inflation and exchange rate and the cost of natural gas.
Dr Ishmael Ackah, the Executive Director of PURC, said: “This is to ensure that volatility in macroeconomic developments and other factors do not affect the ability of utility service providers to provide services to consumers and consumers, not overburdened in paying their bills.”
He said this during a stakeholder workshop on the QTA and net metering guidelines in Accra.
They included representatives from the Ministry of Energy, Consumer Protection Agency, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), West African Engineering Project (WAEP) and media personnel.
On the net metering, Dr Ackah, said the system would help consumers to invest more in solar and other technologies, noting that the excess generated renewable energy would be fed into the national grid.
He said: “So far, net meters have been installed for all customers but in series with their existing prepayment and post-paid meters. These meters will be configured to be read remotely and electronically.”
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Dr Eric Kofi Obutey, the Director of Research and Corporate Affairs of the PURC, said they were computing the figures for the first quarter tariff.
Earlier this year, PURC announced a 27.15 per cent increase in tariff for electricity and 21.55 per cent increase in water tariff effective September 1, 2022.
This was after utility companies, including the Electricity Company of Ghana and Ghana Water Company Limited proposed an increase in tariffs by 148 per cent and 334 per cent, respectively.
Dr Obutey said when the Commission was done with the computation process, it would send it to the Board, which would present it to the Government before the tariff for January to March 2023, be announced.
He added that: “In all that we are doing, we want to ensure that the utility providers are financially sustainable. We do not want the recurrence of erratic power supply, which we refer to in Ghana as ‘dumsor’. We will also ensure that the interest of the consumer is not compromised.”
Mr Kwame Jantuah, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the African Energy Consortium Ltd, lauded the net metering initiative and asked the Government to institute and implement policies that made it work.
He said: “The Government can look at situations where particular institutions – schools, hospitals, commercial bank and other State institutions will have solar panels installed, which will create some returns.”
Mr Jantuah added that: “It all depends on how the Government handles it; because the ordinary man would be able to see the availability of solar panels and also buy into the idea.”