PDS Saga: Don’t Destroy Energy Commission’s Hard-won Image – Dr. Ampofo Advises
A former Board Chairman of Ghana’s Energy Commission Dr Kwame Ampofo, has criticised the role the Commission played in appointing Electricity Company of Ghana as the interim operator to take charge of the management of electricity sales in the West African country.
On July 31, this year, the country’s energy regulator withdrew EC/ESL/ 02-19-001 license, which it issued to PDS following the transfer. According to the Commission, its decision was based on the validity of the said license becoming impaired due to the suspension of the operation of Power Distribution Services (Ghana) Limited over what government described as “fundamental and material breaches” in the concession agreement signed with the Electricity Company of Ghana on behalf of government.
However, a statement issued by Dr Kwame Ampofo, who is also a former Managing Director of Tema Oil Refinery, raised objection to the Commission’s decision to hand over the electricity retail business to ECG.
He argued that the Commission did not have the power to do so, stressing that it should have advised the sector Minister to use the powers of his good office to have appointed ECG as interim operator of the suspended PDS concession.
“As the immediate past chairman of the Energy Commission, I find it difficult to accept the recent announcement by the Commission that it (the Energy Commission) had “appointed” ECG as the interim operator to take charge of the management and operation of electricity sales in the country, ostensibly, to ensure continuity of power supplies to consumers. This is a strange and undesirable development, as the Energy Commission has no mandate or powers to make any such appointment,” he argued.
According to him, “The functions of the Energy Commission is only to regulate and manage the utilisation of energy resources of the country. In the performance of these functions assigned to it by the Energy Commission Act of 1997 (Act 541), the Commission is enjoined to “advise the Minister for Energy on national policies for the efficient, economical and safe supply of electricity, having due regard to the national economy” (Article 2(b)). So, at best, the Energy Commission should have advised the sector Minister to use the powers of his good office to appoint ECG as the interim operator of the suspended PDS concession.
Over the years, we have worked so hard (since its inception if 1997) to establish the Energy Commission of Ghana as one of the very best regulators in Africa and we must all be proud of this feat and the many enviable achievements and successes it continues to chalk as one of the best regulators on the continent.
It is in this regard that I wish to entreat the government to strive to protect the sanctity of the Commission (as a regulator) by resisting the temptation to parry its problems onto the Commission and, thereby, place that respectable institution in a conflict of interest situation, he stated.