Ghana’s power companies to be punished for poor performance

Ghana’s power companies to be punished for poor performanceEffective October 16 this year, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission will begin to apply penalties to companies in the power sector for breach of standards of performance.

The penalties to be imposed for the breaches of the law are stated in “Penalty Units” with a unit having a value of GH¢ 12.00. The penalty units will range from two to 200 penalty units depending on the offence committed and will be charged for every instance of the breach.

The PURC and the Energy Commission came out with the penalties under the Electricity Supply and Distribution Standards of Performance Law passed in 2005.

However, the law gave a transitional period of five years for the utilities to make the necessary investment before the regulator began to exact the penalties.

“These penalties are meant to bring improvements into service delivery by the electricity companies and also protect consumers of electricity in the country against under performance by the electricity service providers,” Mr Stephen Adu, Executive Secretary of PURC, told journalists at a briefing announcing the penalties.

The breaches that attract these penalties include delays in the processing of applications for electricity services, supply interruptions, no notice for planned maintenance, delays in the submission of quality of service reports and delayed response to voltage complaints.

Others are extended use of estimated billing, delays in the provision of replacement of electricity meters for consumers and the failure to ensure that there is a pre-payment vending point within 10km of the electricity customer’s premises.

Mr Adu said before the penalties came into force in October, the Commission expected the highest standard of service from the electricity service providers.

He said PURC would not hesitate to apply its sanctions which were stipulated in the PURC’s Act and legislative instruments on the Termination of Service and Complaints Handling Procedures whenever there was a breach.

Mr Adu said the Commission would in due course introduce a schedule of penalties for the water sector.

“The penalties are not meant to cripple the electricity service providers but to encourage them to be efficient,” he said, and encouraged consumers of electricity to lodge complaints with the PURC whenever the utilities failed to resolve their problems.

Source: GNA

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