By Bernice Bessey .
Consumers are expected to brace themselves for tariffs adjustment, as the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) introduces a template for the 2019 Major Tariff Review.
The Commission, which held a meeting with the utility companies to discuss a tariffs proposals template it has developed, will make an informed decision on tariff charges this December 9th, after reviewing the various proposals submitted to before it.
Though the tariffs adjustment would depend on several factors, the PURC is only in a position to determine what price customers are expected to pay after the companies have submitted their proposals at the end of October.
As required by the law, the Commission, before approval of the tariffs, will then engage stakeholders before customers finally get to know how much they would be paying for electricity and water.
Ishmael Edje-Kumhene, Chairman of the PURC Technical Committee, at yesterday’s meeting in Accra explained that the tariffs template was to ensure consistency in the submission of tariffs proposals by the utility companies.
According to him, the template is purposely designed to facilitate the Commission’s work, and also, when the companies submit their proposals, it will help them (PURC) get a better understanding of their operational costs.
He added the template is an agreed roadmap by the Commission and utility agencies for inputs of information for the tariffs decision.
Mr. Edje-Kumhene, in an attempt to avoid creating panic, gave the assurance that the tariffs would either be maintained or changed, depending on several factors that include exchange rate, crude oil and gas price, hydropower efficiency, and other operational costs of the companies.
Since the utility companies collect monies in cedis and have to make payments in dollars, he said “it was in our collective interest that the cedi behaves. So, the cedi will not be the only determining factor, but, at the moment, you just heard that we are asking them to bring their proposals; we all don’t know what is going to happen.”
He stated that by December 9 the Commission would be done with its analysis and decide on the tariff charges, but could not anticipate when it will become public.
He indicated: “In terms of when it becomes public, everybody would know, because prior announcements would have to be given,” and, however, urged the media against creating unnecessary tension in the system, since the country has enough issues to handle as a people.
PURC outlined activity
The Commission stated that from October 8-31, there would be a notification for submission of tariffs by utility service providers and other stakeholders, preliminary review of tariffs submission by the PURC, and a decision on acceptance/rejection of tariff filings based on results of preliminary of tariff submissions.
Furthermore, there will be publication of accepted utility tariffs proposal and analysis of accepted tariff proposals (review/validation/analysis) from November 7-9.
Other activities include PURC Engagement with key stakeholders (Government/TUC/AGI), Joint Utility and other Stakeholders Engagements (Regional Public Hearings)/Media and Decision on Rates & Tariffs Announcement on Nov. 09 – Dec. 09.
Tariff Decision Paper and Publication of Gazette on Dec. 09 – Dec. 31, Implementation of Tariffs and Resolution of Outstanding Issues on Jan. 01.