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General News of Monday, 4 February 2008

Source: GNA

Conserve power and pay less - ECG Boss

Accra, Feb. 4, GNA - Mr. Jude Adu-Amankwah, Managing Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), on Monday advised the public to conserve power to avoid paying "punitive" charges. He said with the new subsidy regime, government expanded the lifeline consumption threshold from the existing 0-50 units to 0-150 units per month with effect from November 1, 2007.

"This means that lifeline consumers would be billed at 7.87 Ghana Pesewas per unit (representing 35 per cent increase on the previous tariff of 5.83 Ghana Pesewas per unit)," he said.

Mr Adu-Amankwah, who said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) approved between 100 to 150 per cent increment in tariffs and had since November 1, 2007 implemented the new tariff for both its credit and prepaid customers.

He said however, after government's intervention in December 2007, the company was in the process of modifying its credit billing and prepayment systems to dispense the subsidies to customers who qualified under the new lifeline threshold of 0 - 150 units per month. The ECG Boss said the intervention required extensive modification of the billing systems to accommodate the change and urged the public to bear with the company and that they would soon start crediting those who qualified in their next electricity bills.

"When you asked me of my own opinion, I think we under funded electricity for far too long and as a nation we should determine whether power should be crucial on our list or not. If we want it, we should be prepared to put money where it should be.

"It is not everybody in this country that have access to electricity and what justification would the government give for using the country's scarce resources as subsidy for just a few people," he added. Mr. Adu-Amankwah said everything, including wood poles was imported and it would be unfair for people to continue to think that such services should not attract the economic rate. "Some of our machines were obsolete and others which were brought in since 1953 are still in use. How do we expect such a machine to give us the adequate power to serve the nation," he asked. The Managing Director, therefore, urged the public to be disciplined when it came to consumption of power otherwise they would have to pay realistic rates.

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