Claim: Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Education Ministry says that the expected increment in water and electricity tariffs in September this year will be the first in five years.
The claim is false. In 2019, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission approved a 5.94% increment in electricity tariffs and a 2.22% upward adjustment in water tariffs.
Ghanaians have been asked to brace themselves for an upward review of utility tariffs.
On Monday, August 15, 2022, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission announced the approval of a 27.15% increase in electricity and a 21.55% increase in water tariffs.
The adjustments take effect on September 1, 2022.
The development comes even as Ghanaians are lamenting a rise in the cost of living, with inflation currently standing at 31.7%
Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Education Ministry, Yaw Opoku Mensah, whilst urging Ghanaians to bear with the upward adjustment, said it was necessary for such decisions to be taken to ensure that utility companies run efficiently despite the country’s economic situation.
According to him, this is going to be the first time in five years since utility tariffs have gone up.
Yaw Mensah made the statement when he was a panellist on the Akoko Abon show on Kumasi-based Hello FM on Saturday 13th August 2022.
“You will agree with me that for the past five years, the government has not adjusted utility tariffs. Unlike before when our utility tariffs were automatically adjusted with increments in the world crude prices and the exchange rate. On that score, you can say that the government has been very truthful and has cushioned Ghanaians for the past five years,” he said in the Akan language.
His claim can be found between minutes 1:38:12 to 1:38:50 of the show which was live-streamed.
Yaw Opoku Mensah is not the only one found to have made the claim.
State media, Graphic, in an earlier online publication about the expected increase, made a similar statement – “Utility tariffs are expected to go up next week, the first since 2017.”
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission is a state agency mandated to regulate the provision of electricity and water utility services. One of their key tasks is to examine and approve utility rates.
DUBAWA observed that in the 2019 annual report (Chapter 3.2, page 57), it was indicated that the Commission had upwardly reviewed electricity and water tariffs on October 1, 2019.
“Using available macroeconomic variables, generation mix, and fuel prices, the Commission’s analysis, indicated a marginal upward adjustment in tariffs, with the Commission approving a 5.94% increase in electricity tariffs and 2.22% increase in water tariffs across all customer categories effective October 01, 2019,” the report reads.
A press statement issued by the Commission and dated September 30, 2019, announcing the tariff adjustment can be found here.
For instance, in the 2016/2017 (Page 12) report, the Commission said “although macroeconomic variables (Ghana Cedi: US Dollar exchange rate and inflation) experienced some positive variations, the effect of these increases on the tariff was mitigated by an increase in the hydro component of the generation mix…Consequently, the Commission decided to maintain both electricity and water tariffs at the same levels as approved in December 2015.”
In the 2018 report (Page 38), it was indicated that “…there was a decision not to adjust electricity and water tariffs.”
Similarly, in the 2020 report (Page 47), the “Commission approved no change in electricity, natural gas and water tariffs for all four quarters of 2020.”
It is not true that the expected upward review of utility tariffs in September will be the first such increase since 2017.