The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), perhaps, gave Ghanaians a pre-independence anniversary present with the announcement last Monday, March 5, of a reduction in electricity tariffs ranging between 10 and 30 per cent.
Unprecedented in recent times, although the downward review is yet to take effect, the announcement by the commission has already put Ghanaians in a jubilant mood and justifiably so because many have complained several times about the high utilities they have to pay every month.
The Daily Graphic believes that the reduction, which is 17.5 per cent for residential consumers, 30 per cent for non-residential consumers and 25 per cent for special load tariff consumers, will reduce the financial burden and pressure on a lot of Ghanaians.
While residential consumers will have some needed funds freed for other needs, non-residential and special load consumers who are to enjoy a higher reduction, will be able to cut down on the cost of production, which would have a ripple beneficial effect on their consumers.
We laud all the stakeholders who contributed to make the reduction a reality and also commend the government for honouring its word to lighten the burden on Ghanaians by reducing utility tariffs.
The Daily Graphic, however, asks that the decision regarding water tariffs is also hastened through the needed consultations among stakeholders as was done with the electricity tariffs.
Consumers need not be charged unjustly for their use of indispensable utilities, such as water and electricity.
We urge all the players in the utility sector to be truthful in their dealings with consumers in order not to overburden the working public who also have to pay for other needs of the family every month.
While we express the appreciation of all Ghanaians for the reduction in electricity tariffs, we are not by any chance suggesting that if there is the need for further downward review, it must not be done.
In the spirit of equity and fairness, we urge the PURC to, in consultation with stakeholders, do the required adjustment if there is justification for further reduction so that when the tables turn, consumers will accept the new tariffs in good faith.
Perhaps, it is also time for the electricity providers to check malpractices by some unscrupulous consumers who do illegal connections and deprive the utility providers of the needed revenue.
It is time for the public to assist the utility providers with information that would assist in arresting and dealing with the power thieves.
We do not in anyway also believe that tariff adjustments must adversely affect the delivery of utility services and we urge the utility service providers not to use the reduction as a pretext to deliver poor services in order to ask for upward adjustment in tariffs.
We trust that all the key factors, such as consumer and investor interests, economic development, revenue requirement and natural gas prices, among others, that were considered before the electricity tariffs were reduced and announced, will continue to be the yardstick for further utility price adjustments.
The Daily Graphic prays that the reduction will make the Ghanaian workforce more economically sound.