Through the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), Ghc 332,267.70 has been retrieved from consumers in the Upper East Region for utility companies, the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL). Additionally, PURC assisted consumers to save an amount of Ghc 26,538.23 from undeserved bills from the utility companies.
The PURC’s actions were taken to ensure that utility providers end up receiving the money that is owed to them and to safeguard customers from arbitrary service charges.
This came to light when the Commission held its first consumer clinic in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital.
The Public Utilities Regulation Commission Act 1997, ACT 538, founded the PURC. The Commission oversees utility distribution and mediates disputes between utility suppliers and customers.
The regional office of PURC started in January 2022 and has over the past 14 months undertaken the following services: complaints management, district or outstation monitoring, public education, community monitoring, industrial monitoring, and prepaid vending centre monitoring.
Additionally, through the efforts of the PURC, thirty-five electricity poles have been replaced. Ten metres have had to be replaced, while the replacement and injection of seven transformers have been undertaken by the utility providers.
The Upper East Regional Complaints Officer at PURC, Abdulai Ikililu, said the commission received a total of 705 complaints.
Out of the number of complaints received, he said the commission was able to resolve all the complaints brought to it.
“%95 of those complaints were lodged against NEDCo, %4 were lodged against Ghana Water Company, and %1 were lodged against consumers. Among the complaints, the quality of service was the highest,” he added.
Participants who attended the consumer service clinic raised concerns such as low current, the difficulty of getting a new metre, billing, pipe bursts, and corporate social responsibility, among others.
The utility providers, VRA/NEDCo and Ghana Water Company Limited in response, promised to continue providing the quality of services consumers desired. They also raised concerns such as illegal connections against consumers as a major factor affecting their revenue targets.