September 29, 2016 By Regina Pratt
Freetown residents are apparently angered by the recent unprecedented increase in electricity tariff by the Electricity Distribution and Supply Agency (EDSA), which many have described as a ‘killer’.
The new tariff, reportedly representing 15 percent of Goods and Services Tax (GST), was imposed without first preparing the minds of consumers, which as expected, has irked many residents. Many were therefore shocked and dismayed to have realised the increase when they bought recharge units for their prepaid metres.
“EDSA was not fair with us as customers. They should have sensitised the public and also explained the new tariff before releasing the new charges,” said Aminata Kamara of New England Ville.
Retired Civil Servant, Ola Pratt, a resident of Tengbeh Town, told Concord Times that he was surprised to have received only 30 units when he bought Le50, 000.00 worth of credit. He also expressed frustration that he again only received 17 units for le20, 000.00.
“I can’t understand what the amount per units is,” he lamented, stating that the unit cost of recharge card should always be communicated via text message to customers.
Also, Madam Sata Kamara, a fish monger at Kroo Town Road market, expressed her dissatisfaction over the sudden increase in electricity tariff, adding that the decision would have a telling negative impact on buying and selling prices of fish.
She said fish mongers hitherto bought fish in large quantities and placed them in commercial freezers overnight at very low cost.
“But now that the units cost of electricity has been increased, I know that the owners will also increase their charges per cartons and sacks of fish,” she said.
Head of Consumer Services at EDSA, Ms. Sarah Kamara, told Concord Times that the increase in electricity tariff represents 15 percent GST charged by the National Revenue Authority.
She explained that EDSA levies various charges, including residential (social) tax, which is 0-30 units and cost Le735 per unit, adding that the cost would increase to Le845 when GST is included.
She implored consumers to always ascertain as to whether they should pay service charge whenever they buy recharge units.
“Starting from October 1st 2016, consumers will be able to know what their charges are,” she said. “When they buy credits, service charges and other arrears would be deducted.”
Another charge, inclusive of GST, is residential (high end) 31-200 units, which cost Le1, 625 per unit.
Meanwhile, with the Leone depreciating against the United States Dollar almost every day, and prices of basic commodities increasing by the daily as a result, Freetown’s residents are in agreement that the new ‘killer’ tariffs on electricity could only leave them poorer than prosperous.