Members of the Brong Ahafo Coalition of Business Associations (BACBA) have called for the establishment of an office of the Public Utility Regulation Authourity (PURC) in the area to save them from travelling to Accra and Kumasi to seek redress in the event of damage to their equipment resulting from frequent power outages by the Volta River Authourity (VRA).
According to them while the frequent power outages continue to spoil their equipment, they were unable to leave their businesses for days to lodge complaints against VRA in Accra or Kumasi and get compensations to repair their machines and equipment.
Members of the coalition made up of hairdressers, dressmakers/tailors, barbers and some FM stations among others made the call at a meeting in Techiman, the Bono East capital during which they deliberated on the need for the establishment of the PURC office in the area and the appointment of focal persons in all the districts in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions to receive their complaints.
The meeting was organised by a non-governmental organisation, the Centre for Posterity Interest Organanisation (COPIO) and funded by the Business Sector Advocacy (BUSAC) Fund.
Reliance on electricity
Addressing the meeting, the Research Officer of COPIO, Dr John Akpareb noted that small businesses play a central role in any economy in terms of employment, income, innovation and development of local markets and supply chains.
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These businesses, according to him, relied largely on electricity which had often not been regular as expected.
“Having easy access to the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) is very important if public utility users such as businesses could easily lay complaints and have issues resolved for efficient operations”, he stated.
He said business owners in the region believed that easing access to PURC to fight such power outages will stabilise the supply of electric power to promote business growth.
Dr Akpareb said business owners in the three regions deserved better treatment and could no longer wait for the establishment of the PURC office, saying that currently, the PURC has offices in Accra, Koforidua, Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale and Ho and wondered why it had taken PURC such a long time to make its establishment felt in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions.
Dr Akpareb called on the PURC to educate businessmen and women on its mandate and usefulness to the public so as to make it relevant when and office is established in the area, otherwise, its establishment would not be relevant since its services would not be patronized.
He also advised businesses to adopt and use alternative sources of electric power as a means of addressing the power problems in the area.
Dr Akpareb recommended the use of standby generators and solar panels for the generation of power and called for the provision for incentives to encourage the use of other sources of power such as solar.
For his part, the Executive Director of COPIO, Mr Mustapha Mason Yeboah called on businesses in the area to sustain their advocacy until an office of the PURC was established in the area with focal persons appointed in all the 29 municipalities and districts in the three regions.