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Destruction of utility installations affecting service delivery in V/R

BY: Alberto Mario Noretti
Philip Agbezudor, Volta Regional PURC Manager
Philip Agbezudor, Volta Regional PURC Manager

The wanton destruction of electricity and water utility installations by some unscrupulous members of the public in the Volta Region is adversely affecting service delivery in the region, the Public Utility and Regulatory Commission (PURC), has said.

The nefarious activities are also compelling the service providers to incur huge costs of production.

Last year, for instance, seven transformers of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), worth GH¢300,000, were vandalised in the Ketu South municipality.

Meanwhile, an average of 1,000 electricity poles are destroyed by bushfires every year, until last year when the figure fell drastically to nine and then to seven this year, following the introduction of fire belts around the poles.

The Volta Regional Manager of PURC, Philip Agbezudor, made this known at a consumer service clinic organised by the commission in Ho last week Friday.

He said customer service delivery by the ECG was now threatened by the influx by sub-standard meters on the market.

With water utility, Mr Agbezudor said the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) was losing many of its pipelines as a result of road construction projects.

The situation, he said, was not helping the customer’s right to safe, adequate, efficient, reasonable and non-discriminatory service.

In a presentation, General Manager of the ECG (Volta), Emmanuel Lumor, expressed similar misgivings made by the PURC and said the trend was set to rise because members of the communities were not willing to expose the criminals who destroyed utility installations.

He said power transformers were being destroyed to extract the copper from them for sale on the black market.

The Chief Manager of GWCL in-charge of Public Relations and Communications, Stanley Martey, conceded that there was a wide gap between demand and supply for water.

Further, he said, the use of obsolete plants and other equipment, unstable power supplies and the activities of road contractors posed operational challenges to the smooth service delivery of the company.

However, he affirmed that those challenges were being addressed.

The forum was organised to solicit the views of utility consumers on their expectations from the water and power utilities, following the introduction of the new tariffs.

It was attended by the traditional rulers, civil and public servants and other members of the public.

The organisers and the participants were unanimous in their condemnation of the destruction of the utility installation by unpatriotic members of the public.

They also called on public-spirited individuals to help expose the miscreants swiftly in the public interest.