The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) office in the Western Region, has recovered a debt of GH¢1,200.405.79 owed by consumers to Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
Again, out of the GH¢109, 855.92 debt disputed, GH¢40, 693.41 remains outstanding whileGH¢ 69,102.51 was adjusted in favour of consumers, as part of management of complaints in the region.
PURC Senior Public Relations and External Affairs Officer, Western Region, MrCassielEghanAsiedu, revealed these at the 2022 Consumer Clinic organised by the commission in Takoradiyesterday, as part of its 25th anniversary themed‘Celebrating 25 years of utility regulation in Ghana.’
He added that, compensation of one washing machine, replacement of two televisions and repair of one flat screen TV was also done as part of the complaint management.
Mr Asiedu said “ Complaints from the field received were731, followed by WhatsApp, 116, phone-ins, 73,written complaints 27, utility,23, walk-ins, 22 whiles breakdown of categories of complaints included billing, 39 percent, quality of service, 36 percent, damaged equipment, 3 percent.”
He told participants that complaints could be done at PURC’s offices in writing or oral, documentation with relevant details and attachment, to be sent to the respondent backed, by field investigations by the commission.
Responses would then be received and forwarded to the consumer, he said.
Mr Asiedu explained that when the utility or the consumer was satisfied with the responses,the complaints was deemed resolved and docket closed, adding, however, that, if the complainant was not satisfied, a negotiation settlement or meeting would be called to resolve the matter.
Another avenue, he said, was through mediation or decision referred to a formal hearing.
He stressed “A public utility can make complaints against a consumer, or against another public utility or an entity, a consumer against another consumer, or consumer against a public utility.”
Besides, Mr Asiedu said, PURC undertook monitoring activities to district office and consumer offices of ECG, GWCL, to determine the level of services quality and the adherence to regulatory benchmarks, saying thatoutlook for customer care and resources were used to score the entities.
Director Legal, at PURC, Mrs NancyAtiemo, noted thatthe clinic offered an opportunity for the Commission to organise public hearings across the country to receive comments, and inputs from consumers for onward submission to utility companies.
She continued “A major concern throughout all those public hearings around the country that was raised by consumers was to do with the quality of services and the inability of consumers to find satisfactory channels to lodge their complaints and for resolution
“The objective of these consumer service clinics that we are carrying around the country is to promote transparency and cordiality in the relationship between the utilities and consumers so that you can have personalised diagnosis and treatments. The day isfor consumers. Let’s have an open discussion to speak about all your concerns.”
Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, who chaired the clinic, suggested that consumers without meters should be captured so that ECG could reap full cost and revenue.
He also appealed to ECG to ensure that residents at Adakope in Takoradi, also have prepaid meters.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TAKORADI