The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has charged the newly constituted Board of the Ladies Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), not only to protect the interest of providers of utility services, but also protect the interest of consumers as well.
According to President Akufo-Addo, Act 538, which established the PURC enjoins the commission to provide guidelines on rates chargeable for provision of utility services; examine and approve rates chargeable for provision of utility services; protect the interest of consumers and providers of utility services; monitor standards of performance for provision of services; initiate and conduct investigations into standards of quality service given to consumers; and promote fair competition amongst public utilities.
“However, one of the most noticeable functions, as seen by most Ghanaians, to be ‘effectively’ discharged by the PURC, has to do with the review of utility tariffs, most often than not, in an upward manner,” the President said.
He continued, “It would appear that the other functions, primarily, to do with the protection of the interests of the consumer, and the delivery of quality service by utility providers, have been largely shirked by the PURC. This perception can no longer be allowed to fester. It must change.”
As the newly constituted Board, and in accordance with Act 538, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Ghanaian people demand that the PURC protect their interests as well.
“In consonance with section 13 of the Act, I urge you to ensure that, where a public utility provider fails to meet any required standard of performance, it is appropriately and duly sanctioned,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Monday, 27th November, 2017, when he inaugurated the newly-constituted board of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission.
The President urged the Board to contribute to the development of a competitive energy sector to drive Ghana’s industrial and economic development, and, at the same time, ensure that the ordinary Ghanaian has access to efficient, affordable energy.
With Government ensuring improvement in the supply and distribution of electricity, the President indicated that “we have successfully issued GH¢4.7 billion, in 7 and 10 year bonds, to settle a portion of the GH¢10 billion debt overhang, we inherited in the energy sector. It is our anticipation that the remainder of this debt will be settled by the end of the first quarter of 2018.”
This initiative, he said, is extremely important in resolving some of the liquidity challenges faced by the banks, and will enable more investments to be attracted into the energy sector, all with the goal of reducing the cost of energy.
Towards reducing electricity tariffs, Government, as set out in this year’s Adwumapa Budget, has reviewed the tariff setting methodology and cost structure of power production.
“The review has resulted in recommendations that have been made to the PURC for consideration, which, I have no doubt, will shortly be brought before you for your response. It is important, in the view of Government, that we bring relief to the Ghanaian consumer and industry,” President Akufo-Addo noted.
It was the expectation of President Akufo-Addo that the new Board of PURC would be up to the task, assuring that “you have my full support to undertake all the measures and reforms required to enable you succeed. Much of the future development of our country is reposed squarely on your shoulders, and I am happy about your choice to serve our country in this capacity.”