The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has been asked by the Government to postpone at least 35% of the next electricity tariff hike due to the economic difficulties faced by Ghanaians.
The PURC is expected to adjust the electricity tariffs quarterly, but Government Officials are reported to be urging the regulator to be moderate in its efforts to recover the outstanding debts owed to Power Producers.
The debts owed to power producers due to forex-related issues are reported to have risen by some 1.2 billion cedis because of the non-implementation of the proposed 44% increase in tariffs in the previous adjustment window.
The utility providers had requested a 44% increase to clear outstanding debts, but the PURC approved only a 29% increase.
The remaining 15% is said to have added an extra debt of some 1.2 billion cedis since then.
Some major Independent Power producers are reported to be threatening to shut down their plants if Government does not settle the arrears.
Sources within the government say that while the government wants to avoid blackouts resulting from shutdowns, it is also cautious of allowing the PURC to fully impose the required 27.9% increase in the upcoming window to recover the extra debts.
Reports say that on Tuesday night, the government appealed to the PURC to delay part of the expected increase until such a time when economic conditions get better. Although the cost of living is gradually decreasing after recent increases, Government sources say that conditions should be allowed to improve further before the full debts are recovered.
The delay is expected to enable the Utility providers to recover parts of their debts while easing Ghanaians for the period.