EWRC holds its first public hearing
The Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) on Thursday 24th October 2019, held its first public hearing in respect of a tariff application it received from the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority’s (EDSA). The hearing which was held at the National Stadium and chaired by Commissioner Ing. Tani Pratt, had a number of interest groups like the Consumer Protection Agency and the Ataya Base for Energy Group in attendance.
In his welcome statement, Head Economic Regulation Mr. Bah stated that the said public hearing was the first being held by EWRC and that it forms a vital part of the process of reviewing and approving rates for public utilities. He went on to say that the purpose of the hearing was to give stakeholders the opportunity to listen and respond to EDSA’s request for a tariff increase.
The presentation of EDSA’s proposed tariffs was done by Commercial Manager Mallay Bangura who explained that EDSA is buying electricity/power at an average cost of 1,575 SLL/kWh and selling/distributing at an average price of 1,335 SLL/kWh. He stressed that if the proposed application were approved, it would help EDSA to minimize its current losses by selling at an average rate of 1,552 SLL/kWh. Mr. Bangura highlighted some of the plans in place to mitigate other operational losses and how these gains will be used to enhance the quality and quantity of their service delivery.
This was followed by responses/presentations from groups like the Consumer Protection Agency and the Ataya Base Energy Group who stressed on the need for consumer education and a robust complaints mechanisms respectively. In his contribution, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Energy, Hon. Keikura Vandy also reiterated the need for EDSA’s PR to be capacitated to handle customers’ enquires and concerns, as well as provide relevant information to the public. He emphasized the importance of teamwork in ensuring effective service delivery and reminded the audience that the Commission has the ultimate power to determine the tariffs as stated in the EWRC Act of 2011.
Also in attendance were invitees from EGTC, MCCU and members of the fourth estate. In giving the vote of thanks, Mrs Ngozi Sesay explained that the next steps included a thorough review by Members of the Commission and communication of the decision by the board to the utility and the public through a public notice and publication in the Sierra Leone Gazette.
Director General of EWRC
Dr. Emmanuel Mannah
Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Energy
Hon. Keikura Vandi
Head, Economic Regulation
Mr. Brima Bah
Directors from EDSA
Head, Consumer Affairs and Public Relations
Mrs. Ngozi Obi Sesay
Representatives from MCCU
Representatives from Consumer Protection and Ataya Base Energy Group
PUBLIC NOTICE: UNLAWFUL INCREASE OF COST OF SACHET WATER
The Sierra Leone Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission (SLEWRC) wishes to draw the public’s attention to a public notice released and also radio and television appearances by the Salone Pure Water Packeters and Bottling Organisation (SPWPBO) on Tuesday 1st October 2019 informing the public of an increment in the price of a bundle of sachet water from Le 2,500 to Le 3,500.
The Commission condemns this illegal act taken by the SPWPBO as the SLEWRC is the sole body mandated to approve rate for water and electricity services to consumers. Section 45 of the SLEWRC Act of 2011 states “No utility shall demand or receive any rate for service it provides unless the rate chargeable for the service has been approved by the Commission”.
In accordance with the above provisions, the Sierra Leone Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission advise the public to consider the increase as null and void. Members of the organization have been engaged in a meeting on Wednesday 2nd October 2019 on the matter and have been summoned for further discussions at the Commission on Thursday 3rd October 2019 at 10.00am.
In this vein, any package water producer that attempts to proceed with an unlawful price for the sale of bundle/sachet water shall face the full penalties of the law as stipulated in Section 65 of the SLEWRC Act of 2011.
You have been warned!
SIERRA LEONE MAKE HUGE STRIDES IN CONTINENTAL ELECTRICITY REGULATORY INDEX RANKING
The Sierra Leone Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission (SLEWRC) has been ranked 19th place out of 35 country regulatory bodies in the Electricity Regulatory Index (ERI) for Africa, released by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in August 2019. This is the first time Sierra Leone participated in the ERI.
The ERI is a special report that measures the level of development of the regulatory frameworks in African countries and examines their impact on the performance of their respective electricity sectors based on Industry best practice. The index is composed of three sub-indexes on Regulatory Governance, Substance, and Outcome.
Sierra Leone’s ranking is amongst the second group of countries that are considered to have an average-developed electricity regulatory framework amongst established regulators. It is important to note that Sierra Leone is ranked ahead of countries like Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Critical areas of importance as highlighted in the report includes regulatory substance and regulatory outcomes for consumers – particularly in the commercial sector. SLEWRC also scored big on the independence of regulators from the government and stakeholders.
The Electricity Regulatory Index for Africa is a product of the Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Complex of the African Development Bank. Periodic evaluation of regulators as practiced in many developed countries is important as it enables early identification of problems or gaps so that corrective actions can be implemented as soon as possible.
According to the Director General of the Commission Dr. Emmanuel Mannah, the achievement is as a result of a dedicated crop of staff and a body of astute Commissioners. He on other hand has been providing strategic leadership to the Commission.
In compiling this comparative study, the AfDB hopes the assessment will promote further private sector participation to improve performance and national regulatory environments.
Management and Staff of the SLEWRC
ANNEX 3: ERI COMPARISON 2018 – 2019