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Consumers owe GWCL, NEDCO GH¢132m in Upper East Region

BY: Gilbert Mawuli Agbey
Dr Ishmael Ackah  (3rd from left — front row), Executive Secretary of the PURC, with some staff of the Upper East Region office of the GWCL after the meeting
Dr Ishmael Ackah (3rd from left — front row), Executive Secretary of the PURC, with some staff of the Upper East Region office of the GWCL after the meeting

Consumers of treated water and electricity in the Upper East Region owe the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO) a total of GHȻ132 million.

While the GWCL is owed GHȻ1 million, NEDCO, on the other hand, is owed GHȻ131 million, a situation the two companies said was negatively affecting their operations.

This came to light when the Executive Secretary of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), Dr Ishmael Ackah, led a team of officials from the commission to tour the two institutions in the Upper East Region.

The visit formed part of a day’s tour of the region by Dr Ackah to acquaint himself with the operations and challenges of the two utility companies.

Dr Ackah and his team met the management of both institutions in a closed-door meeting to discuss some pertinent issues, before briefing the media on the outcome of the meetings.

Treatment plant

The Upper East Regional Chief Manager of the GWCL, Hanson Mensah-Akutteh, said the government had secured funding for the construction of a treatment plant in Tolon, which would produce about 20,500 metric cube of water daily.

He said the new treatment plant, when completed, would provide water for residents of the region up to 2040, without any interruption, saying “large volumes of water will be readily available to serve the large population within its catchment areas”.

Mr Mensah-Akutteh said access to water in the municipalities had been increased with the extension of 20km pipelines to enable residents to have water at all times for their domestic and economic activities.

He urged the residents to desist from illegal connections to enable the company to share the water equally among all residents, noting: “I wish to call on our consumers to settle their indebtedness to position the company to serve them better.”

Retrieval of debts

For his part, the Upper East Area Manager of NEDCO, Mr Eugene Odoi Addo, said the company needed money to carry out its activities, for which reason it was doing everything possible to get consumers to pay their bills.

He said due to the security situation in the Bawku area, the company was trying to find other ways to get there to retrieve the bills owed, without compromising the safety of its staff.

“Last year, we recorded a 23 per cent loss due to illegal connections by some unscrupulous persons. As a company, we are doing our best to ensure that power consumers pay their bills to enhance our operations.

“Recently, we launched the electronic payment platform which has afforded customers the opportunity to buy power and pay without difficulty,” he said.

Dr Ackah, in an interview with journalists, said the PURC would continue to ensure that the utility companies were well equipped and financially resourced to efficiently render viable services to consumers.

“Inasmuch as consumers want the best of services from the GWCL and NEDCO, I wish to urge them to pay their bills promptly to enable the companies to serve them better,” he said.

He stated that the PURC had introduced an app through which customers could lodge complaints against the utility companies for redress, saying: “I wish to appeal to the companies to be prompt in addressing the concerns of customers to shore up public confidence in them.”