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PURC ‘invades’ Markets, saving consumers GH₵52,000 from wrongful billing


By Nicholas Osei-Wusu, Kumasi
The Ashanti regional office of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), was able to save more than 52 thousand Ghana Cedis in over and wrongful billing from utility service providers to consumers, especially customers of the Electricity Company of Ghana, from January to March this year.

This follows the receipt of more than 300 formal complaints from utility consumers for poor services during the period. 

The Ashanti Regional Public Relations Officer of the Commission, Richard Asiedu, who disclosed this to GBC in Kumasi, also noted that the office was able to resolve about 90 percent of the complaints.

“Most of them are billing-related issues, be it water or electricity. We’ve been able to help consumers in the regions save about GHC 52, 000. The utility service providers can also report consumers, especially the state-owned institutions, when they’re also owing. For the 1st quarter, we’ve collected GHC 4,500 for  them,” Mr. Asiedu disclosed.

To further encourage electricity and water consumers to use the most appropriate procedure in resolving their grievances against the service providers, the Office has started an initiative code-named ‘Market Invasion’ as part of measures to increase public awareness about its mandate. 

Since the start of this year, the staff have visited the Nsuta Market in Sekyere Central and the Fumso Market in Adansi South districts to interact with the traders and buyers.

The Public Relations Officer noted that the initiative also allows staff of the Commission to distribute educational materials to augment the verbal interaction with the sellers and buyers that centres on the processes they need to go through in seeking redress for their grievances with services received from the utility providers.

Mr. Asiedu urged utility consumers to repose trust and confidence in the PURC with their grievances for a peaceful and satisfactory solution. 

On the rift between the ECG, the Kumasi Technical University, and the Ashanti Regional Minister, for which the Ashanti East Regional Manager of the ECG was arrested for disconnecting the University for their indebtedness, the PRO said none of the feuding parties has made any formal complaint to the Office for intervention. 

Established by an Act of Parliament, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), has a mandate to play an intermediary role between public utility service providers on one hand, and consumers on the other. 

By this, the PURC is to ensure a fine balance between ensuring that service providers remain financially sustainable through fair tariffs while consumers pay honestly for the water and electricity they consume from these companies. 

In discharging these functions, the PURC takes and resolves complaints from any of the parties not satisfied with the commitment of the other. 

However, there has been persistent agitation among, particularly the consuming public, that PURC is mostly heard of when tariffs for utilities are announced. 

It is to change the narrative that the Ashanti regional office of the Commission has initiated what it has christened ‘Market Invasion’ as a means of increasing its visibility and reaching out to members of the consuming public at their door step. 

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