fbpx

PURC receives 10,987 complaints against utility companies in 2021

BY: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) received a total of 10,987 complaints throughout the country against power and water distribution companies in 2021 as against the 7,067 complaints received in 2020.

The Director, Regional Operations of the commission, Alhaji Jabaru Abukari who disclosed this explained that 6,470, representing 58.89 per cent of the total complaints received were lodged against the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) while 2,995 (27.26 per cent) were lodged against Northern Electricity Department (NEDCo).

According to him, 6,343 complaints out of the 6,470 made against the ECG during the period were resolved while 2,854 out of the 2,995 complaints against NEDCo were also settled.

Alhaji Jabaru made these known to GraphicOnline on the sidelines of the Bono Regional Utility Stakeholders' Dialogue in Sunyani on Friday.

The dialogue was part of measures to enable the PURC to share its success story in the three administrative regions of Bono, Bono East and Ahafo since the establishment of its office in Sunyani in 2019.

The occasion, which was attended by officials from NEDCo, GWCL, public and private institutions, assembly members as well as security agencies among others was also used to collect feedback from the public on the performance of the utility companies.

Alhaji Jabaru added that a total of 1,398 complaints were made against the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) in 2021 out of which 1,280, representing 98.71 per cent were resolved.

He said under the PURC (Consumer Service) Regulation 2020, LI 2413, utility companies were allowed to lodge complaints against consumers.

Alhaji Jabaru said in the year under review, a total of 124 complaints were therefore lodged by the utility companies against some consumers.

Types of complaints

He said top on the lists of complaints lodged with the commission was on the quality of service which recorded 8,328 cases out of the 10,987.

The quality of service issues, he explained had to do with frequent power outages, phase-offs, voltage fluctuations and uncaptured Self-help Electrification Projects (SHEP) customers, no flow of water and pipe bursts and leakages among others.

Other complaints bordered on billing which involved issues such as overbilling, bulk billing and billing consumers based on estimates as well as faulty metering, unlawful disconnections and damage of property.

Awards

Alhaji Jabaru added that due to diligent investigations by the commission, the utility companies were made to pass credit adjustments to correct billing irregularities identified.

All accounts of complaints were credited with a total of GHC 5,778,379.00 while the commission also ensured that indebtedness to the utility companies amounting to GHC548 383.00 was paid.

Assault

For his part, the Executive Secretary of PURC, Dr Ishmael Ackah expressed concern about how some people assaulted staff of the utility companies when they had issues with their services.

He stated the doors of their commission were opened to receive such complaints and warned that such perpetrators would be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.

The Bono Regional Manager of the PURC, Mr Patrick Antwi gave assurance that the PURC remained committed to the interests of both consumers and the utility services and asked them not to hesitate to reports issues for redress.

In a presentation on activities of the commission in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions, the Complaints Officer of the commission at the Bono Regional Office, Mr Isaac Osei Agyeman said a total of 2,664 complaints had been received since the office was established in 2019.

He said so far a total of GHC512,873.29 in the form of compensations, adjustments and recoveries had been paid as a result of the settlement of complaints by consumers by the office.

During the dialogue, the PURC ordered NEDCo to replace a rotten pole sited in the Asuakwaa Electoral Area, near Sunyani by March 30, 2022, following a complaint made by the Assemblyman, Mr Richard Damalie that his plea over the past two years had not been heeded to.