Former President John Dramani Mahama does not appear enthused about the fact that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has succeeded in reducing electricity tariffs for all categories of consumers.
Mr Mahama described the move by President Akufo-Addo’s NPP government – which aims at lessening the financial burden of Ghanaians – as ‘populist’ and accused the government of not adding a single megawatt to the grid since it took over the affairs of the country.
He even predicted that the erratic power supply known in local parlance as ‘dumsor’ that characterised his four-year administration, would return because of the way the NPP government is mismanaging the power sector.
During his recent meeting with opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) supporters in the United Kingdom, the former president dared the government to shut down the power plants his government established and see what would happen in the energy sector.
“The way they are going, they are likely to run us into dumsor because of this populist reduction in tariffs,” he predicted in London some few weeks ago when he accompanied some NDC national executives there as part of the party’s efforts to unite the rank and file.
“Take Ameri, switch it off; take Karpower, switch it off; take KTPP, switch it off; take Asogli Phase 2, switch it off and see if Ghana won’t go back to dumsor. We’ll go straight back to dumsor, no curve no bend,” he said amid cheers from the supporters.
Mr Mahama did not understand why the NPP government is thumping its chest over the non-existence of dumsor currently – although the erratic power supply that Ghanaians endured under his regime (thereby collapsing many small businesses) seems to have ended.
Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko has already said that the sound and prudent economic policies adopted by the NPP government for the energy sector had ensured that dumsor becomes a thing of the past.
“We have put in the necessary arrangements and mechanisms to ensure that there is no disruption of power. A body like EMOP will help in mitigating and managing whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, but it is our commitment to keep the light on, despite whatever happens,” the minister said at the beginning of the year.
However, Mr. Mahama is not still convinced and appeared to take the credit for the improvements in the system.
“So how could you have solved dumsor?” the former president fired, adding, “Show me one megawatt of power that has been added since NPP assumed office. We had a deficit, and today some of these plants we brought are the most efficient and they are working to ensure that we have power.”
With the government’s prudent measures, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) announced a general reduction in electricity tariffs after extensive stakeholders’ consultations in the sector, as well as detailed analysis of proposals tendered in by companies in the power distribution chain.
The average percentage reduction – 15.5 percent for residential, 30 percent for non-residential, 25 percent for SLT and 10 percent for the mines, effective 15th March 2018 – was only on energy consumption.
The NPP government was able to bring down the cost of using power because it succeeded in renegotiating almost all the power purchase agreements signed with private producers at cut-throat prices during the Mahama’s NDC administration.
For instance, when President Mahama and his NDC were leaving office, the Karpowership they brought in was producing at the cost of 16 cents per kilowatt but the NPP government was able to renegotiate a new deal and currently, the same company is charging 10 cents per kilowatt – which is a reduction of about 25%.
Not only the Karpower, but other Independent Power Producers (IPPs) were engaged in renegotiations to get better deals for the people.