Dr Ishmael Ackah — Executive Secretary, PURC
Dr Ishmael Ackah — Executive Secretary, PURC

ECG recovers GH¢11.44m from defaulting customers

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has recovered GH¢11.44 million, for the first half of this year, from defaulting customers who are mainly businesses in the country.

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On the other side, 17 customers of the two utility companies — ECG and Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) also recouped GH¢552,972 from bill adjustment for the period under review.

The recovery was made possible through the intervention of the Greater Accra Region office of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) after the utilities and customers filed separate complaints.

Complaints

The Greater Accra Regional Manager of the PURC, Gifty Bruce-Nelson, in a press briefing in Accra last Thursday, stated that both consumers and providers of utilities had the right to file a complaint to the commission under the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (Consumer Service) Regulation, 2020.

“So thanks to the effort of the PURC, we have been able to help both customers and utilities to recover some funds after filing complaints with the commission,” she said. She said the Greater Accra Regional Office of the PURC received a total of 804 complaints against the regulated utilities for the period under review.

Of the total, she said 738 complaints, representing 91.7 per cent were resolved. “Out of the total complaints, 695 representing 86 per cent were lodged against ECG while GWCL recorded 109 complaints, representing 14 per cent of the complaints received.

“The rest are at various stages and it will require a little more time to be resolved. Most of the remaining complaints are related to damaged appliances and so we need to authenticate whether it is the fault of the utility or customer,” she said.


Investigations

The regional manager explained that sometimes due to a thorough investigation, the commission discovered that the customer's property had inadequate wiring or a faulty earth wire, which was the root cause of the issue.

She said a finding of such nature absolved the utility company of any responsibility, as the problem lay solely with the customer's property.

“After our preliminary investigation, we forward it to the PURC Energy Directorate at the head office for the engineers to take over and undertake a comprehensive investigation and make their recommendations,” she said.

Mrs Bruce-Nelson noted that during the period under review, the commission conducted community monitoring activities to identify issues related to utility services. She said the field investigation and monitoring were often done to ensure accurate meter readings, appliance inventory and damaged property data information.

“While visiting these communities, we received complaints about low voltage, which we promptly addressed. Our team visited various areas in the Greater Accra Region, including Amanfrom, Frafraha, Mempeasem and Otanor.

“We visited some prepaid vendors within the capital to ensure they were providing efficient customer service to consumers,” she added. She stated that the commission also conducted industrial monitoring to ensure that industries received the required power from utilities.  

“Contrary to the common perception that PURC only announces tariffs, our monitoring activities involve checking on industries to verify that they receive the necessary power supply,” he said.

This, she said, was crucial because power outages could result in significant costs for manufacturing companies, and the PURC strives to prevent such losses.

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