The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Eric Kwakye Darfour, has urged the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) to do more of public engagements to educate Ghanaians on the new tariffs.
He said with such engagements and interactions, Ghanaians would better understand how the utility companies arrived at the figures for the new tariffs which took effect on October 1, 2019.
Addressing a stakeholder engagement meeting on post tariff education organised by the PURC here in Koforidua, Mr Darfour said the public were beginning to perceive that the PURC was shielding the utility companies and the government, rather than interceding for them on the reduction in the tariff increase.
The meeting which brought together stakeholders from various institutions and consumers of water and electricity was meant to educate them on utility tariffs, what causes tariff increase among others.
“I would urge the PURC to do more of the public interactions and conduct itself in a manner not to be seen as shielding the utility companies and the government at the expense of rather interceding for the public and protecting their interest.”
He said there were a lot of illegal connections in the country contributing to the huge amount of losses that were incurred and later shared to some customers to pay, adding that it was unfair.
“Some of your staff connive with others and tap energy and water to unknown territories, then when there are losses, it is shared to some customers to pay for and I think it is unfair,” Mr Darfour stated.
Mr Darfour also called on the managers of energy and water resources in the various municipal and district assemblies to diligently manage them to avoid waste and losses.
For his part, the Chair of the Technical Committee of the PURC, Mr Ishmael Agyekumhene, stated that it was time people depoliticised energy and water issues and leave the sector to run on its own, adding there was also the need to ensure that cost were recovered and losses prevented.
He assured that the PURC would continue to do its best to intercede for the public as well as protect the interest of all stakeholders in the energy and water sectors.
The Director for Regulatory Economics of the PURC, Dr Simons Akorli, explained that the public needed to understand that exchange rate, inflation and increase cost of production can affect the price of tariffs and can cause it to go up.
FROM AMA TEKYIWAA AMPADU AGYEMAN, KOFORIDUA