Major power transmitter Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) owes the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) GH¢10million, an amount that the latter says constitutes outstanding regulatory levy the company is supposed to pay.
According to the Executive Secretary of PURC, Samuel Sarpong, GRIDCo pays levy to the Commission based on ‘bills collection’ from its clients.
The PURC says the debt has been outstanding since 2014 and could hamper its regulatory mandate.
“The Commission has contacted GRIDCo on several occasions demanding payment, but it has not been able to effect full payment because of challenges in debt collection in the power sector,” Mr. Sarpong told a sitting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Parliament.
The vice-chairman of PAC, Samuel Atta Akyea, had enquired from PURC what steps it is taking to retrieve the money.
Mr. Sarpong indicated that “understanding the complexity of the issue”, he believes it is a “circular debt issue within the sector” — adding “when one is not paying it affects the whole sector”.
He however disclosed the Commission has put in place what he described as “debt restructuring” to ensure that all outstanding debts are redeemed.
The PURC boss also explained that in order to resolve this indebtedness problem within the sector, a committee has been set up by the Ministry of Energy to come up with modalities for allocating collection of revenues from the sale of electricity to all players in the electricity sector.
These companies, Mr. Sarpong says, include Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG); Volta River Authority (VRA); Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo); Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC); Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo), and the Commission.
“The Committee is close to completing its task in order to present its proposals to the Minister of Power who now oversees the sector,”
The PURC was set up as a multi-sectoral regulator by the government of Ghana in October 1997, under the Public Utilities Regulatory Act 1997 (Act 538), as part of the utility sector reform process to regulate the provision of utility services in the electricity and water sectors.
By virtue of the Energy Commission Act 1997 (Act 541), PURC also has regulatory responsibility over charges for the supply, transportation and distribution of natural gas services.
Source: B &FT