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ECG subsidy saga: It’s refund not realignment – Casely-Hayford

caselyhayfordFinancial analyst, Sydney Casely-Hayford has dismissed assertions by President John Dramani Mahama and the power ministry that the billing structure of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is being realigned.

President Mahama recently clarified earlier indications that the government would subsidise low-level power consumers as well as commercial consumers by stating that the ECG only realigned their billing structure.

“It is not a subsidy. It is a realignment of the billing system that makes it possible for us to be able to know how much we are spending on electricity,” the President said in an address to Muslims on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.

According to Sydney Casely-Hayford however, the government was only paying back electricity consumers who had been over-billed following the imposition of the new tariffs, which amounted to a refund.

“Somebody comes and charges me money for delivering me electricity units and I realise that I seem to be using far more than I thought or it’s costing me far more than I thought it would, based on the tariffs that I had before and the tariffs I have now.

Then they admit that there is a possibility the meters that we were using to monitor it and the software were not working properly and it was miscalculated and therefore I have been over-billed.

You admit that this is the problem and that you are going to give that money back to me. The word for that is not realignment, it’s not a subsidy, it’s a simple refund. You’re refunding the over-billed amounts to me,” he explained on Citi FM’s news analysis programme The Big Issue.

Prez Mahama said ECG had realigned its billing system

According to him, in addressing the over-billing issue, the government can either directly refund affected consumers or reduce their subsequent costs, which appeared to be what it was doing.

“You can give it back to me in two ways; you either give me a cheque after you calculated the difference and you explain to me how much you have over-billed me or you give me credit, which means I’m not going to pay you for a certain amount of money for a period of time. That’s all it is, I don’t understand realignment,” he said

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