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Seek Parliament’s Approval For Adjustment Formula -PURC Told   
 
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11-Oct-2013  
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Stakeholders at a public forum on quality of service and utility tariffs have challenged the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) to seek parliamentary approval for the automatic adjustment formula (AAF) for utility tariffs.

According to them, securing legal backing for the AAF would do away with the incessant public outcry against the upward adjustments of tariffs by the commission.

They have also called on the PURC to audit the providers as mandated by the commission’s regulations.

The forum put together by the PURC and the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), was attended by representatives of civil society organisations, organised labour, utility providers and members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy and water resources.

The stakeholders were of the view that since the introduction of the AAF was a consensus, there was the need to safeguard its operational ability.

Concerns

The Executive Director of ACEP, Mr Mohammed Amin Adam, addressing the forum, said although the recent increases were unavoidable, consumers were much more concerned about the quality of service.

“Tariffs must be tied to performance, and the commission must move away from sanctions to sensitization to ensure consumers are able to hold providers accountable,” Mr Amin stated.

He expressed worry that in spite of the PURC’s reports showing marginal increase in complaints by consumers over the years, little had been done to address such challenges.

An energy expert, Dr Ferdinand Tay, who commended the PURC for the transparency in the tariff-setting process, tasked the commission to go beyond the organisation of fora by engaging the media in discussing the actual proposals submitted by providers.

“There is the need to balance the needs of the producers, and consumers ought to be key in addressing shortfalls in the system,” Dr Tay noted.

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy and Mines, Dr Kwabena Donkor, who chaired the forum, expressed worry about inefficiency in the system.

Dr Donkor told the PURC that its role was not limited to the approval of tariffs, for which reason it must monitor performance standards and put in place measures to manage complaints effectively.

Utility providers

Representatives of the four utility providers, namely the Volta River Authority (VRA), the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), who expressed dissatisfaction with the recent increment, gave an assurance that they were putting measures in place to ensure efficiency in their operations.

While admitting that the issue of customer service had not been properly addressed in the past, they said issues of production loss and power theft continued to derail their efforts at delivering quality service.
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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