Govt denies Minority claim of intended increase in electricity tariffs

Mr. Boakye-Agyarko

Mr. Boakye-Agyarko

The Ministry of Energy has denied claims by the  Minority in Parliament that the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) is contemplating a major increase in electricity tariffs.

It said it was also false that government had not made any proposal to the PURC for a reduction in the electricity tariffs, contrary to what was stated in the 2018 budget.

A statement issued yesterday by Nana Damoah, Head of Communications for the ministry, said the minority was peddling an untruth and that they did not conduct a diligent search for information on the issue.

The Ministry was reacting to various claims made by the Minority in Parliament through their spokesperson on energy, Mr. Adam Mutawakilu, including an allegation that the ministry was meddling in the affairs of the  PURC.

It is recalled that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in presenting the 2018 budget , proposed an average reduction of 13 per cent in electricity tariffs for residential consumers of electricity.

Consumers in the non-residential category, the minister said, would also see a 13 per cent drop in tariffs adding that some recommendations would be made to the PURC.

According to the statement, the PURC had not communicated its intention to increase tariffs and that a major review of tariffs did not necessarily mean an increase as misunderstood by the Minority.

“In any case, our understanding of the factors that determine tariffs for electricity point to a reduction”, the statement said.

On the submission of proposal for reduction of tariffs, it said if the Minority had checked they would have been informed that the Ministry in November 2017 submitted proposal to PURC.

It described as shocking the claim that the ministry was meddling in the affairs of the PURC saying the Minority and Mr. Mutawakilu were or should be aware of section 3(b) of the PURC Act 1997, Act 538, which states that one function of the body is to “examine and approve rates chargeable for the provision of utility services”.

It said in compliance with the law, the ministry had, on behalf of government, submitted a proposal for the consideration and examination of the PURC and queried how that amounts to meddling in the affairs of PURC.

The statement also said the ministry was mindful of section 18(4) of the same Act which states that, “the commission shall before approving any rates provide as far as practicable the public utility and consumers affected by the rates a reasonable opportunity of being heard and shall take into account any representation made before it”.

In respect of this, it said the ministry had left the PURC to conduct their affairs in the manner they deem fit without any pressure from the Ministry and asked  how that  amounted to meddling in the affairs of the PURC.

“As a Minority, they have a myriad of means available to them to get information when needed. We, however, wish to underline the fact that this allegation is false and that the Minority and Mr. Mutawakilu are either being dishonest in this matter or were not diligent at all in their search for information.”

“Indeed we will want the media to also follow up and verify whether these claims of the Minority are true or otherwise”, the statement said.

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