PURC opposes utility price hikes

General News of Thursday, 18 April 2013

Source: dailyguideghana.com

Power Line1

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) says the possibility of an increase in utility tariffs soon is unlikely to take place.

This follows reports that Energy & Petroleum Sector Minister, Emmanuel Kofi Armah Buah and some utility companies are pushing for possible adjustments in utility services.

Nana Yaa Jantuah, Director of Public Affairs & External Relations at PURC, explaining a point to journalists in Accra, noted that an upward review is not possible now, particularly given the fact that the right processes have to be followed.

“We are looking at the proposals now. There are even some proposal gaps that must to be filled and before that is done, we cannot say that the proposal is complete. As we sit now, what we are looking at now is proposals submitted by the utility companies, there are data gaps that are in there which must be filled.”

The PURC further explained that by law, utility providers are expected to publish their proposals in the newspapers for members of the public to read them and react.

It said that the service providers cannot do that in a matter of a month since extensive stakeholder engagements have to be carried out before PURC can arrive at any regulatory decisions.

She stressed: “PURC will not take any key decisions without consulting any stakeholders of which consumers are number one.”

Highlighting the independence of the PURC in Act 538, she said her outfit has the mandate to increase utility tariffs in the country and not government as people perceive.

Recently, the IFC has been pushing Government to remove subsidies on the prices of petroleum products to allow customers to pay their full cost.

According to IMF, government’s intervention through subsidies for utility services offered to consumers does not augur well for service providers since Government has not been able to honour its commitments to them sometimes.

Government presently bears part of the production costs of utility companies to prevent consumers from paying for the full cost of utility services.