By Francis Ntow/Cate Aku Agbodza
Accra, March. 03, GNA – The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has for the first time, assessed the performance of utility service providers in Ghana in all operational areas.
This is to enable utilities to learn from each other on regional basis, best practices to ensure increased efficiency and productivity, while providing improved services to customers.
The assessment covered four principal areas of operation of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo).
GWCL was assessed on its commercial efficiency, operational efficiency, water quality, and consumer satisfaction, while ECG and NEDCo were assessed on their technical efficiency, commercial efficiency, operational efficiency, and consumer satisfaction.
The 2021 Ghana Utility Performance Index established that the utilities exhibited both high and low scores, which implied that the values were heterogeneous along regional lines.
For example, it was observed that regions that had high prepaid electricity penetration rate typically recorded high collection ratios.
Additionally, with areas that had high non-residential customers, revenue collection was high, which resulted in the utilities performing better on the commercial efficiency index.
On customer satisfaction index, operational regions assessed under NEDCo performed above average, while for ECG, most operational regions performed below average.
Under the water quality composite for GWCL, it was observed that at all operational regions, the quality of water produced across the country was bacteriological safe for human consumption.
However, capacity utilisation was low in areas which experienced deteriorating water quality, with their chemical cost also being high.
Speaking with Ghana News Agency, Dr Ishmael Ackah, Executive Secretary, PURC, said the Ghana Utility Performance Index was an innovation of the Commission to look at the areas of regional performance of all the utilities.
“GUPI is to help encourage peer learning, so, instead of going to Dubai or elsewhere to learn from utilities there, maybe your region is doing so much that other regions can benefit from,” he said.
“Some regions are doing better in terms of commercial losses, and some regions are doing better in revenue loss when we talk about water so what we are trying to do is to develop some indicators,” Dr Ackah stated.
He called on utility service providers and all stakeholders to help ensure that the country domesticated knowledge sharing, and “encourage innovation of our own as well as peer learning.”
Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Energy, speaking at the launch of the GUPI, urged all the regulated utility service providers to take the exercise seriously to aid excellence in service delivery to customers.
The index allowed for the measurement of the performance of the regulated utilities in a more integrated and comprehensive manner than can be obtained through a comparison of separate single indicators.
Although the GUPI was computed as a regulatory tool for the Ghanaian utility sector, the index can be of interest for energy and water utilities and regulators outside Ghana.
It can be a useful tool for the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission and Energy Commission and other regulators to carry out benchmarking analyses among the power and water utilities located across the sub-region or the entire African continent.