PURC fines ECG board members GHS5.868m over dumsor

The board members of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), who served in office from 1st January to 18th March 2024, are to pay a regulatory charge of Five Million, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Eight Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHS5, 868,000.00) in fines for superintending over power outages without any notification to power consumers between January and March this year.

The board includes the ECG MD, Samuel Dubik Mahama and eight others. The current Deputy Energy Minister, Herbert Krapah chairs the board, but he won’t be affected as his tenure falls outside the period of the regulatory orders.

Keli Gadzekpo, who resigned as board chairman three weeks ago, will be affected by this fine. Chief Whip, Frank Annor Dompreh and five other individuals are all affected.

The PURC, which announced this in a letter to the ECG on Monday, April 15, had made three requests to the ECG with the timelines of March 25, March 27, and April 2, 2024. The information requested relates to the tariff revenue allocation under the Cash Waterfall Mechanism (CWM), the provision of regulatory audit data and the submission of information related to operational matters, as well as the provision of other regulatory audit data.

It said, “The Commission established from its analysis of data submitted by ECG that there were 4142 outages to consumers within ECG’s operational areas between January and March 2024. Out of this number, 165 representing 3.98% of the total outages were ECG-planned outages. Further analysis showed that of the 165 ECG planned outages, 40 were supported by public notices, while there were no notices for the remaining 125 outages. Further, 38 of the 40 notices did not comply with the requisite three-day statutory notice prescribed under Regulation 39 of L.I. 2413. This indicates that in 163 instances of planned outages, ECG did not comply with the law”.

The amount is to be paid into a dedicated fuel account under the joint control of the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Finance on or before 30th May 2024.

Originally, the fine was slapped on ECG, but the PURC said it could not allow the company to bear the cost due to the nature of its business, and the likely impact on service delivery. It thus passed on the fine to the company’s board members.

For failure to comply with the 3-day statutory notice on notification and publication of planned outages required under Regulation 39 of L.I. 2413, the Commission in accordance with Regulation 45 of L.I. 2413, also imposed a regulatory charge of 3,000 penalty units on ECG for each of the 163 breaches, amounting to Five Million, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Eight Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHS 5,868,000.00).”

“The Commission has determined that having regard to the nature of ECG’s ownership and business, the imposition of the penalty of Five Million, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Eight Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHS 5,868,000.00) on ECG would be counter-productive, as payment from ECG’s revenue would have a rebounding adverse effect on quality of service and consumers who pay tariffs to the company.

“For that reason, in the interest of justice and to protect the interests of consumers, the Commission shall hold the Board Members of ECG who were in office from 1 January to 18 March 2024 liable for the payment of the Five Million, Eight Hundred and Sixty-Eight Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHS 5,868,000.00).”

It said these board members were at all material times responsible for providing strategic direction to ensure the provision of safe, adequate, efficient, reasonable and non-discriminatory service to consumers.

Meanwhile, the regulator has fined the ECG GHS36,000 for failing to submit all bank and investment accounts it currently operates to the Commission.

“The details of ECG’s bank accounts submitted were incomplete, contrary to the Order. 3.3 Submission of Information Related to Operational Matters.”

“The Commission hereby imposes an initial regulatory charge of 3,000 penalty units on ECG in accordance with Regulation 45 of LI 2413, amounting to Thirty-six Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHS36, 000).”

It said “ECG shall pay the initial regulatory charge of GHS36, 000 to the Commission on or before 22 April 2024.

On the time-frame for compliance, the PURC added that after the payment, “for every working day that the requested details remain outstanding, ECG shall pay an additional regulatory charge of 3,000 penalty units, calculated daily until the date of compliance.”

In addition to honouring its ongoing obligations under the Cash Waterfall Mechanism, the PURC ordered ECG to pay the amount of GHS446,283,706.29 to the Category B beneficiaries under the CWM.

“The amount represents actual revenue collected by ECG, declared by ECG to the CWM, and approved by the CWM Standing Committee for payment from August 2023 to February 2024, but which remains unpaid.”

On the time-frame for compliance, the Commission said ECG shall pay the amount of GHS446,283,706.29 before or by 30th April 2024.

It said in the event of failure to pay by the said date, the board members and management of ECG shall be held liable.


Source: Myxyzonline.com

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