PURC to undergo Peer Review

The performance of the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) of Ghana over the years will come under scrutiny in a week-long review by members of the Peer Learning Network from November 23 to 27, this year. The Peer Learning Network, comprising institutions whose mandate includes the regulation of the electricity sector across Africa, aims to enhance regulatory effectiveness and impact across the continent. The group conducts structured peer reviews of the electricity regulatory systems in each of the countries that comprise its membership. PURC joined the group of African Electricity Regulators in October 2008, in a pilot initiative of the Management Programme in Infrastructure Reform and Regulation (MIR) at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. A statement signed by Mr Stephen Adu, Executive Secretary of PURC, said during the review, the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the regulatory institutions that formed the Peer Learning Network would hold discussions with senior government officials, PURC Commissioners and management. The CEOs would also hold discussions with utility companies, private power developers, consumer groups and the press and assess regulatory governance, substance and impact in Ghana. The statement explained that the approach of the Peer Learning Network was not for the project to become a benchmarking exercise but rather to serve as a robust and in-depth sharing of information and experiences through which mutual learning could take place. To date the Network has undertaken reviews of electricity regulatory systems in Namibia, Uganda and Zambia. The five CEOs from Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and facilitators from MIR will undertake the review. Over the last decade, over 20 independent electricity regulatory bodies have been established across Africa with the underlying expectation to create a more enabling environment for attraction of investment into infrastructure sectors like electricity, water and telecommunications. It is also expected that they would engender sustained financial viability of infrastructure of utility companies while at the same time protect consumers through cost effective pricing and enhanced service delivery.