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Utility consumers call for improved services

BY: Mary Anane-Amponsah
Dr Ishmael Ackah — PURC Executive Secretary
Dr Ishmael Ackah — PURC Executive Secretary

Utility consumers in the Greater Accra Region have urged utility companies to focus on providing quality services and expand operations to citizens who are not yet enjoying their services as the country develops.

At a consumer service clinic organised by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) in Accra last Tuesday, the consumers called for quality services from the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL).

The consumers who received presentations on the new tariffs and operations of the PURC, ECG, and GWCL during the interactive session, indicated that they were not much worried about the tariff increment but rather unsatisfactory services.

Some of their issues were how they had been denied access to potable water for years, had no power supply and frequent power fluctuations in their localities and wanted the utility companies to do more to improve their services.

Constant supply

The assemblyman for the Abokobi Electoral area, Moses Dowuona, said people were willing to pay the necessary tariffs to promote the work of the utility companies but the problem was how some people within the region could not get access to the services and how even those with the services did not get a constant supply.

“We all agree that the utility services need resources to do their work and so we are ready to pay the needed tariffs to boost their work, but they must also expand their operations to where the services are needed to increase their revenue”, he said.

His concerns had been with the lack of potable water in his locality, especially a community called Sesemi where residents were faced with serious water challenges causing them to share a stream with animals.

He said the water from the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) for the Abokobi community was woefully inadequate for which reason residents had to spend more resources to get water.

He appealed to the GWCL to extend their operations to the area to solve their water challenge.

A resident of Ajumankope in the Ada West District, Dora Kaki Agbodza shared similar sentiments over the water crisis in the area and also called for support.

Others commended the utility companies and the PURC for improving their customer services over the past few years in terms of their prompt response to solving issues brought to their attention and expressed the hope that with the increment in tariffs, their services would significantly improve.

They also expressed the hope that the PURC would organise the consumer service clinic on a quarterly basis to always be abreast of issues affecting both consumers for the utility companies to address them rapidly.

Complaints

The Executive Secretary of PURC, Dr Ishmael Ackah, explained that the consumer service clinic was instituted to serve as a platform where consumers and utility companies would listen to each other concerning their challenges and also find ways to solve them.

The Greater Accra Regional Manager of the PURC, Gifty Bruce Nelson, mentioned that the PURC received about 1,144 complaints from consumers. They were made up of 902 against ECG with 878 already resolved, and 242 against GWCL of which 221 were resolved.

The PURC, she said, was committed to ensuring that consumers received better services while the utility companies also received the necessary tariffs to run their operations.

Ms Nelson advised the citizenry to conserve energy and water to help them manage their resources with the tariff increment.

Cheap tariffs

The Head of Communications of the GWCL, Stanley Martey, cautioned the public against illegal connection which was draining utility companies of their resources to effectively provide services saying that it was even more expensive to do illegal connection than to access water through the appropriate means.

He warned that anybody caught stealing water would be arrested and charged.

The General Manager of Regulatory Management, ECG, Dr Berlinda Dwamena, said the current service charge for residential consumers was GH¢10 a month and non-residential GH¢12 .