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COVID-19: Free Electricity To Cost GHc1 Billion-Minister

The Minister of Energy John Peter Amewu has disclosed the government will spend GH₵1 billion to absorb the electricity bills of Ghanaians for the next three months as part of relief measures in the wake of the Coronavirus disease.

He disclosed the figure at a press briefing on Thursday where he stated that the figure will cover an estimated population of about 4.8 million meters across Ghana.

According to him, the amount would cover the electricity bills of consumers of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo).

The amount will cover a total of 4.8 million electricity meters across the country.

According to Mr Amewu, ECG’s life-line population in Ghana is about 1 million cluster population, comprising about 27.4 per cent of the total customers of ECG.

He said “by cluster population we are talking about the number of meters and not the population of people.”

He stated that at the current tariff level, the government would absorb approximately GH₵ 8.5 million of the electricity bills of that population per month.

For non-life customers, Mr Amewu said a 50 per cent discount on their electricity bills would translate to GH₵235.4 million for 278, 086 residential customers and 160,008 for special load tariff customers.

He said a total relief for ECG customers per month based on the estimated revenue would be GH₵244 million per month translating to GH₵732million for the 3 months, that is, April, May and June.

NEDCo is set to receive a total government relief for all customers was about GH₵47 million per month or GH₵ 141 million for the three-months period.

The reliefs comprised of about GH₵10.9 million per month or GH₵32.9 million for three months for a customer population of 569,000 life customers, he added.

The figure, he said, made up of 60.67 per cent of NEDCo’s total customers.

For non-life customers, he said, the figure was about GH₵36 million per month or GH₵108 million for three months for 369,000 non-life customers.

Meanwhile, a total relief equivalent to GH₵55.5 million per month or GH₵166.4 million for 3 months would be spent on VRA.

He disclosed VRA’s customers comprised 12 mining companies, VALCO and other manufacturing customers such as Aluworks, Diamond Cement Limited, Savannah Cement Limited and Enclave Power Limited.

He said for VALCO, government would spend an estimated GH₵42.4 million per month or GH₵127.2 million for the three months.

VALCO is estimated to cost government GH₵4.8 million per month or GH₵14.4 million in total for the next three months, while the other manufacturing companies would cost GH₵ 7.9 million per month or a total of GH₵53.7 million for the three-months period.

The President in his sixth national address to the nation on the novel coronavirus Thursday, April 9, 2020 announced the decision by the government to absorb electricity tariffs for Ghanaians.

“We have decided further measure of mitigation for Ghanaians for the next three months… Government will fully absorb electricity bills for the poorest of the poor, i.e: lifeline consumers. This will cover persons who consume 0 to 50-kilowatt hours per month for this period. This forms part of relief interventions by the state amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Other categories of consumers will enjoy a 50 percent discount within the same period. For all other consumers, residential and commercial, the government will absorb 50 percent of your electricity bill for this period using your March 2020 bill as the benchmark,” he noted.

 

 

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