PURC takes tariff education to Upper West Region
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has introduced the Electricity Consumption Estimator (PECE) App by which consumers can determine the amount of electricity units they have to pay for.
It said customers could access the app on their mobile devices.
The Executive Secretary of PURC, Dr Ismail Ackah, said the PECE App could also be accessed at the commission’s website and was borne out of the various conversations with the public.
Explaining the function of the PECE, he said the concept had to be introduced to ensure that both the consumer and the utility providers were not cheated in their transactions.
As such, a consumer must know at a glance the amount of units he has consumed or has purchased.
Dr Ackah said that when he was addressing a stakeholders meeting at the Nusrat Jahan Ahmadiyya College of Education at Wa in the Upper West Region last Tuesday.
The meeting was part of the PURC initiative to extend its revenue mobilisation drive and the need for consumers to conserve utilities and thus cut down costs.
The Executive Secretary said the commission chose the Nusrat Jahan Ahmadiyya College of Education because of the role of teachers in the education drive.
Dr Ackah was of the view that although the utility providers were doing the best consumers could complain to the PURC after they had first spoken to the utility provider.
On electricity, he said the country had three main sources of power generation, namely hydro, thermal and solar.
After generation, he said, the power went through various processes before distribution to consumers and that all those processes required money.
Dr Ackah said although hydro and solar power were comparatively cheaper, the application of technology such as the pylons for distribution in addition to workforce and regular maintenance processes were expensive.
With the consumption of electricity, he said the value chain was made up of generation, transmission and distribution.
On water, the Executive Secretary said after the raw water had been obtained from rivers and wells, the treatment processes were taken care of to make it potable for various needs and those inputs used were expensive as most of the chemicals used were imported, needing foreign exchange.
He said that was why the utility providers had to charge and retrieve the money and it was at this point that the PURC came in to ensure that what was charged was the right amount for them and consumers.
On complaints, Dr Ackah advised consumers to use the available channels of communication to contact the service provider and when they were not satisfied, there would be other channels, which could end up in the court.
During the questions and answers, Dr Ackah said all the services of the utility providers needed to be paid for since they produced to sell and that had to be done by the consumer.
He pointed out that in coming out with tariffs, all the processes that went into the production of the utilities were taken into consideration.
On tariff, he said the PURC came out every three years after using what they called the use and useful concept to remove proposals that they felt did not affect production.
He said in such cases when the tariff was about to be announced, the utility providers would bring their proposals of cost of production which were drastically brought down.
That, he said, was after the commission had removed all those that were not in line with the production processes.
Dr Ackah gave an assurance that the PURC was always available through various contact numbers and assembly –members who had their WhatsApp portal.
The Head of Consumer Service and Monitoring, Edmund Kwaku Tuffour, urged consumers to use the PECE the commission had provided to control the consumption of their utilities to manage consumption.
Mr Tuffour expressed his satisfaction with the reception offered to them and hoped that the teacher trainees would go out as worthy ambassadors to extend the message.