General News of Saturday, 12 December 2015
The Executive Director of the Africa Institute of Energy and Sustainability (AIES), Dr. Sammiu Kojo Nuamah, has urged government to disband the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) because to him it is not doing the public any good.
According to Dr. Nuamah, the PURC is currently irrelevant.
He explained that the nation does not need any price regulator for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) because there are not too many companies offering such services.
He argued that the PURC would be needed only when the nation has a lot of companies competing.
Dr. Sammiu Kojo Nuamah made the appeal on Citi FM’s News analysis programme, The Big Issue on Saturday in relation to the recent hikes in utility tariffs.
The PURC last Monday announced a 59.2 percent increment in the price of electricity and 67.2 percent for water.
“I think that under normal circumstances, government should step in because everything belongs to it. I was asking why we even have PURC because what are they regulating? Government has an obligation towards its citizenry so no good government will try to burden its people. So if we were having several independent private companies then that is where we would need a regulatory body so that they don’t overburden us because sometimes when you have independent companies, they try to focus too much on the profit rather than looking at the consumer,” Dr. Nuamah explained.
Currently the nation has three different institutions in the power distribution chain.
Whereas the Volta River Authority together with some independent companies produce the power for the nation, the Ghana Grid Company transmits it and ECG sells it to consumers.
According to Dr. Nuamah such companies in the chain are government owned hence there is no need for a regulator.
“We have government supplying everything, giving it to another government body to transmit and also another government body distributes to our homes and industries. I think that the strategy is to divert blame when there is an increment because instead of saying that it is government who is not performing or listening to the plight of people, people divert attention to the PURC. But I always say why do you blame the PURC, all the factors they’ve listed for the increment is beyond their control,” the energy analyst noted.