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New office complex for Eastern Region PURC

BY: Haruna Yussif Wunpini
Frema Osei Opare (middle), Chief of Staff at the Presidency, cutting the tape to inaugurate the building. With her are Dr Ismael Ackah (2nd from right), Executive Director of the PURC; Ebo Quagrainie (2nd from left), Board Chairman of PURC, and Seth Kwame Acheampong (left), Eastern Regional Minister, as well as Members of Parliament and Municipal Chief Executives.
Frema Osei Opare (middle), Chief of Staff at the Presidency, cutting the tape to inaugurate the building. With her are Dr Ismael Ackah (2nd from right), Executive Director of the PURC; Ebo Quagrainie (2nd from left), Board Chairman of PURC, and Seth Kwame Acheampong (left), Eastern Regional Minister, as well as Members of Parliament and Municipal Chief Executives.

A new office complex to house the Eastern Region branch of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has been inaugurated in Koforidua.

At a ceremony to inaugurate the new facility, the Chief of Staff at the Office of the Presidency, Frema Osei Opare, said the PURC had been playing a pivotal role in balancing the expectations of its stakeholders such as the government, Trades Union Congress (TUC), the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the consuming public in general as well as the regulated utilities.

She said it was clear that the role of the commission had been necessary, considering the continuous fluctuations in tariffs.

Mrs Opare, however, indicated that there was the need to strengthen already established mechanisms to make regulated utility companies financially viable, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ghana's economy as well as the world.

Affordable tariffs

According to her, it was equally important for the PURC to maintain sustainable measures targeted at making tariffs more affordable to its stakeholders, mindful of the quality of service provided and the current global economic conditions.

Mrs Opare said the decentralisation policy of PURC, which was being implemented through the establishment of regional offices, was commendable and that the PURC had been able to extend its services to the doorsteps of consumers to enhance stakeholder collaborations.

The new building

The inauguration of the office complex also coincided with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the PURC.

The PURC, which was established in October 1997 is a multi-sector regulator tasked with the mandate to regulate the provision of electricity and water utility services.

In order to achieve this mandate, it examines and approves rates chargeable for the provision of utility services and monitors standards of performance for the provision of such services.

10,000 complaints

The Board Chairman of the PURC, Ebo Quagrainie, for his part, said last year alone, the commission received 10,987 utility-related complaints and resolved 10,701, culminating in a resolution rate of 97.49 per cent of all complaints received.

These complaints, he said, related to billing, metering, the quality of service, unlawful disconnections, damaged property, non-payment of utility bills among others.

Mr Quagrainie stated that investigations carried out by the commission resulted in credit sales adjustments to the tune of GH¢5,778,379.20, which was recovered for consumers across the country.

Revenue recovered, he also indicated, was about GH¢548,383.

The Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong, who was at the inauguration, said it was important for the PURC to take stock of its achievements and shortfalls to enable it to improve on its service delivery.

He said it was the priority of the government to ensure that state institutions were adequately resourced to enable them to discharge their functions effectively.

The Executive Director of the PURC, Dr Ismael Ackah, appealed to consumers to make good use of PURC's service so as to make Ghana's energy sector a better one.