The Accra High Court will today hear a case filed by the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) against the Public Utility Regulatory Commission over the increment in utility tariff.
The PURC some few weeks ago announced an increment in tariff for electricity and water at 59.2% and 67% respectively. The increment according to the PURC was reached after a broad stakeholder consultation nationwide.
But the CPA led by Kofi Capito sued the PURC, Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), GRIDCO, and the Northern Electricity Development Company from implementing the increment which was supposed to take effect on the 14th December, 2015.
The plaintiff argues that the stakeholders have failed to live up to expectation in delivering quality service to Ghanaians to warrant the increment. He is seeking the court to stop the stakeholders from implementing the increment.
Meanwhile the PURC has also filed a suit seeking the court to set aside the claims brought against it by the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA).
The tariff increment has met stiff opposition from Ghanaians, industrial union, the Trades Union Congress, The Christian Council and other bodies. The TUC especially has requested the PURC to suspend the implementation and further decrease the percentage.
Their meeting with the PURC on the matter, has fallen on the rocks as no agreement was reached.
However the case involving the CPA will be heard today with the plaintiff seeking the following reliefs:
a.A declaration that the power 1st Defendant exercises pursuant to Section 3(a) of Act 538 to provide guidelines on rates chargeable for provision of utility services, which includes electricity tariffs is discretionary pursuant to Article 296 of the 1992 Constitution.
b.A declaration that the power 1st Defendant exercises pursuant to Section 3(b) of Act 538 to examine and approve rates chargeable for provision of utility services guidelines on rates chargeable for provision of utility services, including electricity tariffs is discretionary pursuant to Article 296 of the 1992 Constitution.
c.A declaration that 1st Defendant in announcing the 59.2% tariff increases for the benefit of 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants has not acted pursuant to any regulations provided for in any constitutional or statutory instrument as required by Article 296(c) of the 1992 Constitution.
d.A declaration that the Rate Setting Guideline relied on 1st Defendant to announce the 59.2% tariff increases for the benefit of 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants is not regulation(s) provided for in a constitutional instrument or statutory instrument.
e.A declaration that the decision of 1st Defendant to approve 59.2% increases in electricity tariff is unfair in the light of the persistent, irregular and unpredictable power outages pejoratively known as ‘Dumsor’.
f.An order setting aside the 59.2% tariff increases in electricity announced by 1st Defendant for the benefit of 2nd,3rd and 4th Defendants as being illegal and invalid.
g.An order of perpetual injunction restraining 1st Defendant, its officials, assigns, privies, servants, any person claiming under or through it and howsoever described from increasing utility tariffs without publishing regulations in a constitutional or statutory instrument as to the basis of the discretionary power as provided for by Article 296 of the 1992 Constitution.
h.An order of perpetual injunction restraining 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants, their officials, privies, servants, hirelings and underlings and/or any person claiming through them jointly and/or severally and howsoever described from charging electricity tariff increases on the basis of the 59.2% tariff increases announced by 1st Defendant with effect from Monday, the 14th day of December, 2015.
i. General damages
k. Any other relief(s) which this Honorable Court deems just and equitable.