Consumers with Disconnected Electricity Will not Benefit from COVID-19 relief – Energy Minister
Energy Minister, Peter Amewu
The Minister of Energy, John Peter Amewu, has disclosed that electricity consumers whose lines were disconnected prior to the relief packages announced by President Akuffo-Addo in the wake of the coronavirus disease will not benefit from it.
It can be recalled that President Nana Akufo-Addo in a televised address to the nation announced that the government will absorb bills of lifeline customers and 50 percent discount bills of residential, commercial and industrial customers for the next three months.
According to the minister, “if by the 9th of April, you are disconnected, then automatically, there is no way you are benefitting.”
“But if for some reason, your disconnection was because you cannot pay and you have made an attempt to pay that bill, then of course, you will be entitled to enjoy. Those that have been disconnected will not enjoy until they have been reconnected,” he said.
The Energy Minister made this known at a press briefing on Thursday, April 16, 2020.
Meanwhile, Mr. Amewu noted that the government is expected to spend about GH₵1 billion to absorb the electricity bills of Ghanaians for the next three months as part of the relief measures in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. This amount he said, would cover about 86-87 percent of the population. Commenting on how the amount to be spent will affect electricity providing companies, the minister said “the utilities are already suffering but in the midst of these difficulties for utilities, the human life is very key. We hope as a responsible government, where we have brought this economy to, after this COVID-19, we will be able to bring the economy back,” he noted.
What is the mode of implementation of this directive?
Mr. Amewu explained that per the mode of implementation of the president’s directive, the 50 percent discount would be applied to next month’s account
“April customers by 9th of April, some people had already purchased especially pre-paid customers… So the April benefits will be derived in May and May in June, and June in July. The baseline for the directive was to use the March bill,” he explained.
What some Energy Think Tanks have said about the reduction in Electricity Tariff
The Executive Director of Institute of Energy Security, IES, Paa Kwesi Anamuah Sakyi, suggested that the government’s decision to absorb the cost of electricity for consumers for three months will cost an estimated 450 million dollars.
Also, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has said the government’s recent decision to subsidize electricity tariff for Ghanaians for the next three months is detrimental to the power sector.