ACEP disagrees with PURC on energy savings

The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has dismissed assertions by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) that the reduction in power usage was as a result of an improvement in energy conservation.
Instead, ACEP explained that some industries had shut down while consumers who could not afford the high tariffs had shifted from using electricity, and this accounted for the 300 megawatts that had been saved.
The Deputy Executive Director of ACEP, Mr Benjamin Boakye, in an interview on February 17 said ACEP’s analysis showed that other reasons accounted for the drop in demand and not necessarily because of the high tariff that was introduced.
“The reality is not because people are conserving energy. Per our analysis, demand has dropped because some companies have moved to Ivory Coast and we are all aware of this. Some industries have shut down, and consumers who cannot pay are no more using electricity,” he said.
Efficiency only in homes
“In Ghana, 60 to 70 per cent of electricity is consumed by industry, and industry cannot be efficient without investing in equipment so if you have a company that processes steel, they cannot change their equipment just because the PURC has increased tariffs,” he said.
Rather, efficiency, he said, was being seen in households, which virtually did not consume majority of the power generated.
“At the level of efficiency, you can only talk about homes where we use it to power our lights, freezers and others, and even that, what we constitute is only about 30 per cent and the drop is more than 30 per cent, so you cannot attribute that to just efficiency,” he said.
That, he said, therefore meant that, those industries and household consumers were not consuming power and therefore rationally, there would be some gains as power that was being generated would be enough to meet demand.
“PURC thinks we are being efficient without basis, but there is evidence to show that some companies are not working, and a typical one is the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC). If you have at least five companies not operating, in effect they are not consuming power and that is the reality and not because people are conserving,” he said.
Assumption without basis
According to the PURC, power consumed by consumers on a daily basis had dropped by a total of 300 megawatts, since the introduction of the new utility tariffs that saw a 59.2 per cent increase in electricity.
It, therefore, interpreted the reduction in power usage as an improvement in energy conservation by consumers, because people voluntarily switched off their electrical appliances because the tariffs had sky-rocketed.
Although the country is no longer shedding power, high tariffs have compelled people to switch off their appliances to save their units from running out for the pre-paid customers and not to pay huge bills for post-paid customers.
Mr Boakye explained that, the PURC’s assertion was not on any research or empirical basis, but it was only comparing generation against demand, and with the reasons already outlined there would definitely be some gains.
“They haven’t done any research and there was no empirical basis for saying that. They are only comparing demand against generation and once what we are generating is enough to meet the demand, they assume people are being efficient,” he said.
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