Many Ghanaians are against the proposed increment while others say they will accept an increment only if power supply improves significantly.
Amongst other mitigating measures, the country is expecting two emergency power barges from Turkey, with one expected to arrive in November.
In the midst of the challenges, however, the meager megawatts of power being distributed in an ongoing nationwide load shedding is being threatened by the lack of natural gas from Nigeria to power plants at the Volta River Authority (VRA).
This follows government’s huge indebtedness of over 180 million dollars to the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) and Nigeria Gas Association, N-Gas.
Government, as a result, has advised the Public Utilities Regulatory Corporation (PURC) to consider an upward review of electricity tariffs to enable it offset part of its debt to N-Gas.
In an interview with Citi News on Friday, the Director of Business Development and Sales at the VRA, Kofi Ellis said an increment in tariff is critical, adding the current tariff regime is affecting the operations of VRA.
“For as long as we are not paying to cover the fuel and other things, then somebody has to take up that responsibility. And who else is taking that responsibility? It’s difficult to get money from anywhere to make up for the difference so whoever consumes it I expect that person to pay for it especially in a situation where that person using it, his alternative is costing him six times what he or she pays.
Mr. Ellis explained the company has been managing the situation largely by its over-reliance on bank loans which is not sustainable.
“We normally depend on the banks to make up for the difference and it’s a bill that is sitting on my financial books because I went to borrow money to make it up since I have the responsibility to make sure Ghanaians have power. If I borrow money from banks and what I am collecting is not even enough to produce the next kilowatt per hour, it's worrying. It’s the same source that you want to go the next time to borrow money to buy the next gallon of crude. Already I have come to you to borrow money to buy a gallon which I haven’t finished paying; then I come to you again; you cannot tell me you won’t give me but then you want to be sure that I will pay for the next gallon and that delays the process” he explained.
He emphasized that “somebody has to intervene to make up for the difference. It’s either the consumer or the government pays for it. If not then we have to look for the difference from the financial market; these are the only options we have.”