Communicate new tariffs now – ACEP to PURC
The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has called on the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to announce its electricity tariff now, if the effective date of July 1, 2019 still stands.
The think-tank made the call in a press statement expressing concern over the delay by the Commission to announce the planned tariffs.
Signed by ACEP’s Executive Director, Benjamin Boakye, the statement said per the norm, new tariffs were usually announced at least two weeks prior to effective date. This, he said, was essential to afford consumers ample time to adjust their systems and budget to accommodate the new tariff.
However, the new tariffs have not been announced, although it is already less than the expected two weeks to the effective date.
According to Mr Boakye, a late announcement of the new tariffs, which have high probability of an upward adjustment, “potentially distorts the plans of consumers significantly, particularly the business community whose investment decisions have been held hostage by the uncertainty in the expected tariff adjustment level.”
He noted that anxiety was already rife within the business community owing to the delay to announce the new electricity tariffs. The think-tank, thus, “expects the Commission to be fully sensitive to the realities on the ground in order not to inject unnecessary shock into plans of consumers and, by extension, the economy.”
Earlier, the PURC, in efforts to rope in significant variables it expected would affect the tariff, had postponed the effective date. According to ACEP, a press statement by the PURC released on 27th February 2019, had indicated that the decision to postpone the announcement of the tariff to July was “… due to critical emerging issues in the sector which are expected to affect the final tariff setting. Amongst others, the emerging issues are related to the planned relocation of the Karpowership Plant resulting in fuel switch savings from Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) to Natural Gas.
“Secondly, reductions in the price of natural gas are anticipated due to ongoing negotiations by government. These matters are outside the purview of PURC but their outcomes are likely to have measurable impact on the Commission’s decision.”
The shift in effective date of the major tariff was therefore to allow the Commission to accommodate the important variables it expected would influence the tariff, ACEP said.
The think-tank, therefore, wants the PURC to let consumers know whether it will further “extend the effective date of the tariff or immediately announce the tariff to allow consumers time to absorb and adjust to the changes, whatever that may be.”