PURC to strike fair balance in new utility tariff determination

The Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC), on Monday, assured the public that it would strike a fair balance between utility service providers and utility consumers in determining new utility tariffs.

The Commission said it would ensure prudent cost in the tariffs determination, adding that it would announce the tariffs before the end of January, but its implementation would start from February 1, this year.

Mr Ishmael Agyekumhene, the Chairman of the PURC Technical Committee, announced this at a public hearing in respect of the 2019 Major Tariff Review for Electricity and Water organised by the  Commission in Accra.

He said the Commission would consider a number of factors before agreeing to an upward tariff adjustment or otherwise.

Mr Agyekumhene, who presided over the meeting, said the PURC would go into caucus meeting to consider the tariff adjustment proposals made by the utility service providers and chart the way forward.

He asked Ghanaians to collaborate with the PURC and utility service providers to clamp down on illegal power connection and waste in the system noting that, the energy sector could have either positive or negative impact on the Ghanaian economy depending on how we manage it.

Representatives from the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo), Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) and Enclave Power Company Limited (EPC) made various presentations to justify their proposed tariff adjustment in order to reflect their operational costs.

The ECG proposed 23 Ghana pesewas upward tariff adjustment per kilowatt hour (23p/KWh), GRIDCo 4.897 Ghana pesewas per kilowatt hour (4.897p/KWh), NEDCo 43 Ghana pesewas per kilowatt hour (43p/KWh) and EPC proposed 26 Ghana pesewas per kilowatt hour (26p/KWh) for the 2019 Utility Tariff Review.

However, the GWCL was silent on any upward utility tariff review.

Mr Kofi Ntow Owiredu, the GRIDCo Manager in charge of Market Operations, in his presentation, outlined some investments the company had made in infrastructural development from 2016 to 2018 to boost its operations.

He mentioned investments in power transmission lines to enhance transmission capacity, network, bulk supply points, primary sub-stations, interconnectivity stations, and plans to expand its facilities this year to boost productivity.

Mr Ebenezer Baiden, an Energy Economist with the ECG, made a case for upward tariff adjustment for the electricity distributor, noting that, after February 1, the Company would cede its power distribution to the Power Distribution Services (PDS) Ghana Limited under the Concessionaire arrangement.

In that regard, he said, the ECG would sell bulk power and lease its assets to the PDS while it received lease payment.

The forum created a platform for stakeholders in the energy sector including; utility service providers and consumers to deliberate on the proposed utility tariffs for consideration.

The public hearing, which is required by law, has already been held in Tamale and Kumasi respectively.

Source: GNA

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