BY: ONESIPHORUS OBUOBI
The much anticipated reduction in electricity from either 50% or 100% has been something that has been on the lips on Ghanaians after President Nana Akuffo Addo announced his press briefing recently.
However, it turns out that the reduction that some Ghanaians were expecting is not in tandem with the support the president is providing.
This has led to much debate since, it was announced, although it is yet to be implemented because it is not a reduction in tariff, but a support to cushion how we use the electricity at our various homes and other places of operations.
The Commercial Manager of the Electricity Company of Ghana, Mr. Emmanuel Sam has given some explanations when he spoke on Biribi Soronko, a Current Affairs program in Akan held on Saturdays at ATL FM.
Mr. Emmanuel Sam had explained that the implementations of the support from the president had not been direct because it is not a tariff reduction as many people presume.
He explained that since it is not a tariff reduction the normal reading would go on and one would continue to receive and pay or buy especially pre paid customers, but the support is to cushion households on their amount of usage.
“There is a major difference between tariff reduction and government subvention or support. If the support were in a form of tariff reduction, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) would have announced that and it would be quickly computed into our computer systems. However, this is a government support so it would continue to use the readings as it existed” he said in Fanti.
He went further to draw a distinction between the purchasing of power or electricity and the usage of electricity. He explained that if a person purchases a certain amount of power as a prepaid customer, it doesn’t mean, he is going to consume all the power purchased within a specific period, but there could be an excess or less consumption of the power, and it is the consumption rate that the government is supporting in either full complement (100%) or in half (50%).
“for instance, if you purchase electricity worth GH 1,000 cedis, there is a likelihood that you may not consume all the GH 1,000.00 worth of power within the a month or a stipulated period. It is likely that the person would use about GH 600.00, it is the usage amount of GH 600.00 that the government would either support you with 50% or with the 100%. What this means is that you would continue to purchase the prepaid power, but the government is going to assist you on the amount or level you are going to consume out of your total purchased power. If it were a tariff reduction, then it would reflect on the card that the amount or price for a certain amount of power has been reduced, but in this case, it is the power or amount of power that would be used that would be cushioned by the government” he added.
However, he added that in addition to this there is a bench mark or a caveat for enjoying this subsidy or support. One must have already had purchased power from the month of March and the total amount power used in the month of March would be the yardstick or bench mark for the measurement. However, when the month of April ends, the server would have calculated the amount of power used in March and that would be used to calculate the level of usage to be supported by the government when May commences.
“As an example, Aunty Araba may have purchased power worth GH 600.00, but would consume only GH 400.00 in the month of March. It is this amount of usage that the server would determine amount to support. If the server determines that Aunty Araba must be given half subsidy, then the benchmark for the subsidy would be GH 200.00. However, moving forward to April, If by the end of the month, Aunty Araba would have consumed at least, GH 50.00 worth of power”.
“The logical reasoning then would be that once Aunty Araba has consumed GH 50.00, half of that should be GH 25.00. It is at this point that the server would recall that Aunty Araba used GH 400.00 worth of energy in March and the government is subsidizing her amount of usage by GH200.00″.
“Therefore, if in May, she is going to purchase power worth GH 50.00 then the server would support her with the benchmark of March’s amount of usage (GH 200.00) and this would appear on the receipt. So she is going to get an extra amount of power use of GH 200.00 in addition to her current GH 50.00 which would also appear on the same receipt”
“However, if in practical terms, if the usage of GH 50.00 lasts for a maximum of three days, because she has received an extra usage amount of GH 200.00, it would last for about 15 days so then she would be enjoying an extra 12 days because of the government subsidy or support she received as a result of the benchmark in March’s amount usage.
He thus concluded by adding that because the post paid customers bill are calculated as a cyclical use since it is impossible to calculate the exact usage of electricity unlike the prepaid customers, so the calculations would be based on April’s usage and this would also serve as the benchmark for the postpaid customers.
Watch the full explanation below: