If we were to ask Ghanaians about the performance of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC), we would probably find out that majority, if not all, have negative things to say about them.
Regular, constant and affordable power supply would certainly be the major issue many would have against the ECG and fault PURC for not playing its role efficiently to ensure that customers receive satisfactory service.
While the public demand satisfactory service from the two public institutions, the two appears not to see eye to with each other.
The recent public spar between the two institutions confirm to us that the two have differences that must be ironed out quickly if consumers are to be served satisfactorily by these two institutions.
As many would already be aware, the PURC on Friday, slapped a fine of GH¢202,640 against the ECG for breaching its obligations to electricity customers.
The Commission’s sanction followed the failure of ECG to adhere to opening hours of its customer service centres and pre-payment metering vending points which serve customers.
It said it was applying the law and if ECG failed to pay by close of day on Friday, the fine would attract further GH¢10,000 daily penalty.
In a show of defiance, ECG called the bluff of PURC, and declared that it would not pay saying “we are studying the order and decide whether to pay or not”.
For ECG, its failure to operate its service centres was purely due to workers agitation which it described the problem as a labour issue that was beyond the control of management.
The Times’ understanding of ECG’s position is that it did not feel responsible for the wrongs of its workers and, therefore, not obliged to pay the fine.
We completely disagree with this position, but that does not mean we agree with the PURC either.
It is our candid opinion that ECG’s position is untenable and cannot be allowed to treat the regulator with such disdain. We have agreed to build strong institution and the least we could do is to accord them respect and candour. The public spar is unhelpful and could undermine and erode public confidence in the regulator.
In the same view, the posture of PURC, in these matters is equally disturbing. Where were they before the workers served notice and carried out their threat to go on strike for a number of hours?
One would have thought that PURC, would have made a public statement indicating the consequences of the workers’ action and the punishment thereof, if the threats were carried out.
We are pretty sure if the PURC were to be proactive, and warned ECG before the workers carried out their threat, perhaps the workers’ action could have been avoided and the punishment would have been unnecessary.
It is important that institutions both private and public, accord themselves some respect and act in a manner not to erode public confidence in their work.
We urge the two institution to quickly iron out their differences and avoid fighting in public. It’s needless and unnecessary.