The free provision of water and electricity has been extended by three more months for lifeline customers only as the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the relief packages for Ghanaians ended in December 2020, the government says the extension for the vulnerable has become necessary to reduce the impact of the pandemic.
In his 21st COVID-19 update to the nation on Sunday, January 3, 2021, President Akufo-Addo announced that lifeline electricity consumers and households whose water usage do not exceed five cubic metres per month will not pay for the utilities in January, February and March 2021.
“You will recall that, in our quest to help shield you from the effects of the virus, Government took the decision to provide relief to Ghanaians, which included the absorption of electricity and water bills. This relief package ended in December. However, with the continuing difficulties occasioned by the pandemic, I want to state that Government intends to continue to support the most vulnerable in our society.”
“Government will, thus, continue to pay the electricity bills for our nation’s one million active lifeline customers for the next three months, i.e. January, February and March.”
“Additionally, all one million, five hundred thousand customers of the Ghana Water Company, whose consumption is not more than five cubic metres a month, will not pay any bills for the next three months, i.e. for the months of January, February and March. This relief package will be reviewed at the end of March,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
At the initial stages of the Coronavirus pandemic in Ghana, government announced three-month free water for Ghanaians.
President Akufo-Addo made the first announcement on Sunday, April 5, 2020, when he disclosed that the government will foot water bills of all Ghanaians for April, May, and June 2020 following an increase in the country’s coronavirus cases amidst a partial lockdown of the epicentres of the disease.
The government subsequently extended the free water policy twice, ending December 2020.
Subsequently, the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), which is the service provider and implementer served notice that customers will now pay their own bills from 2021 but the President’s latest information reverses the GWCL’s notice.