No upward adjustment in tariffs now — PURC

Nana Yaa Jantuah
Nana Yaa Jantuah

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has said it is not considering an upward adjustment in electricity tariffs now as a result of the challenges in the power sector.

The utilities regulatory body said the problems in the power sector, although transient, did not call for increases in electricity tariffs.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic on calls by the Volta River Authority (VRA) for an immediate upward adjustment in electricity tariffs, the Director of Public and External Affairs at the PURC, Nana Yaa Jantuah, said the commission had not received any request to that effect.

The VRA, at a meeting with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy on Thursday to discuss current power outages, called for an upward adjustment in tariffs to improve its finances.

Nana Yaa Jantuah indicated that proposals for tariff increases were made through the PURC, which in turn ascertained whether there was, indeed, the need for adjustments and engaged stakeholders before any such action was effected.

“At the moment we cannot say whether we will consider the upward adjustment, even if a proposal is made to us,” she said, adding that the PURC was more concerned about the constraints in the power sector and how they could be addressed.

The VRA had, at a recent public hearing organised by the PURC, posited that it had posted an operational loss of about GH¢1 billion in 2012 as a result of inadequacies in gas supply.

Officials said following the increase in the use of light crude oil for its operations, a projected operational loss of GH¢1.1 billion in revenue was likely to occur this year.

The forum brought together participants from Accra and surrounding communities and also provided the platform for some utility consumers to express their frustration at the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) for not following their own schedule for the load-shedding and water-rationing programmes.

The hearing was on the theme: “Ensuring quality of service in the electricity and water sectors”.

Issues of poor service delivery, metering and billing and failure to attend to complaints about faults dominated the three-hour session.

The Managing Director of GRIDCo, Mr Charles Darku, said officials had completed work on the third bulk supply station to ensure the evacuation of power to the transmission lines.

He said similar facilities were being put up in 40 towns across the country, while a new national control system had been installed in Tema to address deficiencies in the distribution system.

“GRIDCo is also working on cross-border interconnection facilities for the importation of power as and when necessary,” Mr Darku said.

The Director of Customer Service at the ECG, Dr Smart Yeboah, indicated that considering the country’s annual growth rate of 10 per cent, access to power ought to have been doubled at least every seven years.

Dr Yeboah attributed the breakdown in communication to the huge customer portfolio of the company and said the ECG was working to automate its systems to help address customer complaints and measure its own performance.