Utility tariffs are to go up in the first quarter of 2023 effective February 1, 2023.
This was announced by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) on Monday, January 16, 2023, despite admitting the present economic challenges.
While the end-user tariff for electricity has been increased by 29.96 percent, that of water has also seen an upward adjustment by 8.3 percent following the conclusion of the PURC’s regulatory processes for quarterly adjustments.
“The PURC is equally mindful of the current difficult economic circumstances but notes that the potential for outages would be catastrophic for Ghana and has to be avoided. The PURC, therefore, sought to balance prevention of extended power outages and its deleterious implications on jobs and livelihoods with minimizing the impact of rate increases on consumers”.
“The Commission, therefore, decided to increase the average end-user tariff for electricity by 29.96% across the board for all consumer groups (Table i). The average end-user tariff for water has also been increased by 8.3% (Table 2). The Commission, however, approved varying rate adjustments including some reductions for selected industrial and commercial consumers as part of the ongoing restructuring of the existing water rate structure”, the statement added.
For the end-user electricity tariffs payable by consumers, the Commission considered four key factors in arriving at its decision.
These were the Ghana Cedi/US Dollar exchange rate, inflation, generation mix and the weighted average cost of natural gas.
“Since the announcement of the major tariff in August 2022, these key variables underlying the rate setting have changed significantly. For example, the weighted average Ghana Cedi/Dollar exchange rate used for the major tariff review was GHS 7.5165 to the US Dollar. Since then, we have witnessed the depreciation of life Cedi against the US Dollar and other major currencies. The projected weighted average Ghana Cedi US Dollar exchange rate used in First Quarter 2023 Tariff Analysis is GHS10.5421/USD”, PURC stressed.
Additionally, the weighted average inflation figure used for the major tariff has seen a four-fold increase.
Together with exchange rate movements, this has negatively affected the ability of the utilities to purchase critical inputs required for their operations.
The Commission used a projected inflation rate of 42.63% in its tariff analysis for the First Quarter of 2023.
“The combined effect of the Cedi/US Dollar exchange rate, inflation and WACOG is that the utility companies are significantly under-recovering and require an upward adjustment of their tariffs in order to keep the lights on and water flowing”, the statement added.
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