PURC fine against ECG Board members too high – Kwabena Donkor

A former Power Minister, Dr Kwabena Donkor, has expressed satisfaction with the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission’s (PURC) directive to board members of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to pay a regulatory charge for overseeing the recent power outages without notification to consumers.

While he agreed with the directive, he argued that the regulatory charge is excessively high.

Speaking on JoyNews’ Top Story on Tuesday, Mr Donkor stated that, “The exciting thing about this is PURC fining or sanctioning the directors rather than the corporate bodies. My only reservation is the quantum, it’s too high.”

According to him, directors can be held personally and collectively liable for overseeing power outages, stressing that “we can remove the corporate veil and attack directors personally.”

His comment comes after the PURC fined the board members of the ECG, who served in office from January 1 to March 18, 2024, to pay a regulatory charge of GHS5,868,000 in fines for overseeing power outages without any notification to power consumers between January and March this year.

The board includes the ECG MD, Samuel Mahama Dubik, and eight others. The current Deputy Energy Minister, Herbert Krapah, chairs the board, but he will not 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 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 May 30, 2024.

Initially, 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.

On the back of this, Mr Donkor stated that directors have duties captured under the law, stressing that the biggest challenge faced by state enterprises is poor corporate governance.

The former Power Minister the PURC’s directive to the ECG is not surprising, adding that everything in their report confirms that there is a generation shortfall.

He emphasised that GRIDCo is a transmission utility and does not generate power, stating that if the Volta River Authority and the Independent Power Producers do not generate enough power, GRIDCo cannot supply ECG with enough power to distribute.

“If GRIDCo tells ECG or NEDCo that reduce your consumption and they don’t, GRIDCo is forced to come in and do it for them other than that, there will be a system collapse,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission has slammed the Electricity Company of Ghana for offering “not factually accurate” reasons for the erratic and haphazard power outages suffered by consumers in recent times.

The ECG had claimed that overloaded transformers (as many as 630) were responsible for the power supply trips to homes and workplaces.

It also blamed the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), for making unplanned and eleventh-hour demands to cut supply, the reason also it could not provide a load management timetable to guide consumers on when not to expect supply.

But in its report on the outages attributed to the alleged 630 overloaded transformers during peak hours by the ECG, the PURC said its analysis of the data submitted by ECG did not prove to be the case.

Source: Prince Adu-Owusu  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *