Ghanaians to start enjoying COVID-19 electricity reliefs in May – Amewu

Story by Carlos Afanou

The Minister for Energy, John Peter Amewu says Ghanaians will start enjoying the full electricity reliefs announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, from May 2020 instead of April.

In his sixth national address to the nation on the novel coronavirus on Thursday, April 9, 2020, President Akufo-Addo said that government will fully cover the bills of low-income consumers of electricity and a 50 percent reduction in the cost of same for consumers in other categories in the country for April, May and June 2020.

However, at a press briefing organised by the Ministry of Information today, Thursday, April 14, 2020, the Energy Minister indicated that since the announcement was made on the 9th of April, some prepaid users had already bought electricity credits hence the need to shift the commencement date to May.

Amewu thus indicated that in order not to deprive them of the president’s initiative, the implementation of the directive will be pushed forward by a month, covering May, June and July.

“The directive by his Excellency, if you recollect was announced on the 9th of April and the directive was to be implemented. So the implementation process began, but if you recollect, it’s for 3 months; April, May and June. By the 9th of April, some people had already purchased, especially the prepaid customers had already purchased their prepaid and some people had already bought their postpaid so the April benefits will be derived in May, and May benefits in June and June benefits will be in July. And so that is how it is going to be. So if you have already bought credit in April you won’t see it reflecting but if we move to May it will reflect in May.”

The Minister also indicated that customers who were disconnected before the April 9 announcement due to failure to pay previous debt would be excluded from the intervention.

“And again let’s not forget that the baseline for the directive from his Excellency was to use the March bill, so we are going to use the March bill to identify the lifeline customers. So if by the 9th of April you were disconnected and you weren’t enjoying the national grid by the time the president made the announcement…But if for some reason you were disconnected because you did not pay some bills and today you make an attempt to pay that bill then, of course, you will be entitled to the benefit–the benefit is for all Ghanaians,” Mr. Amewu added.

Cost of intervention to government
The government will spend a little over GHS 1 billion over the next three months on relief for electricity consumers amid the economic slowdown from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

About 87 percent of the Ghanaian population on 4.8 million metres who have access to the national grid are in line to benefit from these reliefs, according to the Energy Minister, Peter Amewu.

The government is fully absorbing electricity bills for lifeline consumers; persons who consume 0 to 50 kilowatt-hours per month.

The other categories of consumers will enjoy a 50 percent discount within the same period.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday morning, Mr. Amewu gave a breakdown of the reliefs with the Electricity of Ghana (ECG) accounting for most of the beneficiaries.

ECG currently oversees one million metres for its lifeline customers, which amounts to 27.4 percent of its customers.

“This means that at the current tariff level, Government is absolving almost an amount of GHS 8.5 million per month for [life line customers],” Mr. Amewu noted.

For non-lifeline customers, 2,780,886 are residential and 1,608 are special load tariff customers.

“A 50 percent discount on their electricity bill will translate into GHS 235.4 million per month. The total reliefs for ECG customers per month are, therefore, GHS 244 million.”

All these reliefs for ECG customers will translate to GHS732 million over three months.

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