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Business News of Monday, 25 March 2013

Source: Daily Guide Network

No electricity, no tariff increases - Tarzan tells ECG

Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Volta River Authority (VRA), Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby, popularly known as ‘Tarzan’, has challenged power producers in the country to provide reliable and sufficient electricity before they clamour for tariff increases.

He said government and the power producers comprising Volta River Authority (VRA), Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Ghana Grid Company (GridCo), Northern Electricity Development Company (NEDCO), TAQA and Asogli, must assure consumers constant power supply throughout the country before thinking about tariff increases.

Dr. Wereko-Brobby, an energy expert, stressed that service providers would have to resolve the inequities of the power sector both structurally and performance-wise before tariffs are increased. He made the comments during an inaugural lecture organised by the Ghana Institute for Public Policy Options (GIPPO) on Thursday evening on the theme: Tarzan @ 60, Reflections on 25 Years of Public Service.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Darkness Gets Darkness-Shedding load to Power Ghana’s Development,’ Dr. Wereko-Brobby noted that Ghana cannot develop under the current phenomenon of ‘Dum so, Dum so’ (flippant power outage). He indicated that under his stewardship at VRA, the Authority got a combined tariff increase of 200 percent in two years.

“The sticking point has always been that all the promises that the utilities make about ensuring reliable supply because they’ve got the right tariffs, falls down.” “Nobody is happy about running generator for their business, petrol prices have gone up and therefore the cost of even operating generators have soared but I think that it is disingenuous and completely unacceptable for power producers and their politicians and others to keep talking about inadequate tariffs,” he said.

He also noted that the electricity providers must make it a priority to always supply adequate energy and not let things go bad to the extent of the load-shedding. “I don’t say this to boast, when I went to VRA, I said we are here to put lights on, we are not here to manage load-shedding and if we’ve got 200 percent in tariffs we must ensure the consumers get what it is they’ve paid for.

Tarzan insisted that the tariffs are more than adequate, stressing that the tariffs must be matched with the quality of service to those who pay the tariffs. “As I said earlier the producers have got SRPs (Strategic Reserve Plants or generators) in their homes, they don’t suffer it, they don’t pay for the diesel in the SRPs, and you (consumers) have to pay.

We simply cannot sit down and say that people need to pay for service that they don’t enjoy. So the argument about tariffs is not about adequacy, it is about matching what we pay to getting what is supplied.”

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