The Coalition of stakeholders on the ECG Contracts Arrangement (COSECA) has taken a swipe at the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) for failing to hold players in the energy sector to strict accountability.

It has described PURC as a failed and incompetent regulator which has reneged on its mandate in managing and determining a fair and equitable tariffs for the utility service providers.

The coalition has questioned the performance of PURC which has resulted in the recent ruckus tariff increment proposed by the Electricity Company of Ghana and Ghana Water Company.

Tariffs increment proposals

The Electricity Company of Ghana wants tariffs to be increased by 148% for 2022 and with 7.6% average adjustments between the periods of 2023 to 2026.

The Ghana Water Company in the same vein has also proposed an increment in its tariffs to 334% to be able to at least recover its costs.

These sharp proposed increment presented to the PURC, according to the utility companies, is due to the gap between the actual cost recovery tariff and PURC-approved tariffs as well as the cost of completed projects.

The two utility companies have raised concerns about the continuous refusal of the PURC to fix tariffs in line with the cost of production.

These utility companies have explained that the situation has affected their operations, and it is essential that the problem is rectified to enhance services to the general public.

PURC’s incompetence

But speaking at a press conference on Thursday June 2, 2022, Chairman of the group, Dr. Steve Manteaw chastised PURC for being inefficient and grossly incompetent at regulating the utility companies.

He indicated that PURC for the past few years has refused, failed or neglected to implement the automatic/quarterly adjustment formula.

And this he said has led to the accumulation of the proposed high tariffs over the period thereby burdening the consumer with high tariffs in such hard times.

“The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission in my honest opinion has been very inefficient, mismanaged and at best seems not to appreciate their role or are grossly incompetent at it”.

There is enough blame sharing to go round from government to management of utility companies, however, the PURC is the number one reason why we have the tariffs currently piled up, and resulting in ECG’s demand for 148% and GWCL’s 334% upward adjustment in tariffs, he reiterated.

Dr. Manteaw added that the lack of effective monitoring and evaluation by the PURC has led to an increase in technical and commercial losses of the utility companies.

He underscored the need for the general public or the consumer to not keep funding the incompetence of the PURC in ensuring improved services and reduce losses in the operations of the utility companies.

Proposals to government

He however, requested government to increase its capex to the utility companies to ensure retooling, expansion and improved service delivery.

Also, he charged government to desist from interfering with the work of the utility companies especially when it comes to procurement and management of these companies.

Dr. Manteaw, thus reiterated that COSECA will be doing their own monitoring and evaluation as the PURC has failed in that direction.

Source: Catherine Emefa Amuzu|Onuaonline.com|Ghana