President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday swore-in two persons into the membership of the Board of the Public Utility Regulation Commission (PURC) and commended the Commission for reducing electricity tariffs for residential, non-residential, mines and special load tariff customers.
In an address at the swearing-in ceremony, President Akufo-Addo noted that prior to the reduction of the tariffs, government had set out in the 2018 Adwumapa budget, a proposal to review the tariffs downwards, stating the methodology and cost structure of the country's energy production.
This, the President said, resulted in the proposed reduction of electricity tariffs, adding that it was important, in the view of government, to bring relief to the Ghanaian consumer and industry.
He said the Board had a duty to contribute to the development of a competitive energy sector to drive the industrial and economic development of the country and at the same time, ensure that the ordinary Ghanaian had access to an efficient and affordable energy.
The President noted that since its inception, the PURC, through the development of regulations, tariff setting guidelines, establishment of monitoring systems and, arguably, a transparent and independent tariff setting process, had contributed positively to the promotion and sustainability of competition, evident in the introduction of private sector investments in the utilities.
Through this, he said, the country had seen a marked improvement in accessibility to utility services.
However, he said, one of the most notable functions as seen by most Ghanaians to be effectively discharged by the PURC had to do with the review of utility tariffs most often than not in an upward manner.
As a result, President Akufo-Addo said, it would appear that the other functions, primarily to do with the protection of the interests of the consumer and the delivery of quality service by utility providers, had been largely shirked by the PURC, adding that the perception could no longer be allowed to continue.
Accordingly, and in consonance with Section 13 of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission Act, 1997 (Act 538), the President urged PURC to protect the interests of consumers as well and ensure that where a public utility provider failed to meet any required standard of performance, it was appropriately and duly sanctioned.