President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his 6th national address on measures against coronavirus, announced that the government will fully cover the bills of low-income consumers of electricity in the country for April, May and June 2020.
In the April 9th address, the president also added that the remaining consumers who fall outside of this category will enjoy a 50 percent reduction in the cost of electricity for the same period.
“We have decided further measure of mitigation for Ghanaians for the next three months… The 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”, Akufo-Addo said.
“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.
This intervention has received wide-ranging praise from Ghanaians both at home and abroad. Many believe such a measure will ease the pressure on citizens economically while they adhere to the stay at home directives from the president.
However, due to the two classifications of electricity meters in Ghana: prepaid and postpaid; most prepaid users have expressed confusion on they will enjoy the intervention since they don’t top up on a monthly basis.
How the discount will work on both meters
In a statement by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to educate consumers on this policy, it said Ghanaians will begin to enjoy the reduction in their electricity tariffs by the end of April and further reminded its customers/stakeholders of how the relief policy will be implemented.
The statement said lifeline customers shall have 100 percent relief of their consumption for the months of April, May, and June 2020.
However, other customers shall receive 50 percent of their March 2020 consumption for the months of April, May, and June 2020.
April benefits will be realized in May, May benefits in June, and June benefits in July.
The package was supposed to last for April, May, and June, but the Energy Minister has revealed that it has been pushed forward.
According to him, the power distributors could not have implemented the relief package because, at the time that it was announced, the month of April had already begun.
He further explained that some prepaid customers had already bought their credit and so it would have been impossible for them to enjoy the package.
“Some people had already purchased, especially the pre-paid customers and some people had already bought their postpaid so the April benefit will be derived in May and the May benefit in June and the June benefit will be in July,” Mr. Amewu said
There was a caveat in the president’s announcement of the package that consumptions at the end on the months stipulated won’t be slashed by 50%, however, a consumer’s usage in March will best as the benchmark for the relief package.
Furthermore, prepaid users will not get double their purchases for May, June, and July as many speculated.
The discount is based on the usage of the consumer and not the amount to be purchased.
These users do not have to do a lot to get their discount.
Based on usage, ECG will calculate the discount that applies and send your bill for payment.
For pre-paid users with the swiping card, ECG recommends users swipe their card or insert in their meter before visiting a vending point or ECG offices for payment.
This will allow ECG to gather accurate data on your meter for the discount to be applied.
With prepaid users who pay via their meter numbers electronically, there will be an automatic refund on their meter based on consumption from the month under review.
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