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ECG drags PURC to court over order to pay radio station 22,000 euros compensation

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has dragged the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to court over its verdict that the ECG should pay 22,000 Euros compensation to Jubilee Radio, an FM station in Keta in the Volta Region.

This followed PURC’s order that the ECG pay the amount as the cost of the transmitters of the station which were damaged during a high voltage surge that occurred in Keta when a bus drove through the ECG’s lines on September 13, last year.

However, the ECG, in a writ filed at the High Court, firmly stated that the purported order issued by the defendant against it in favour of Jubilee FM was unlawful, perverse, unreasonable and thereby null and void and ought to be set aside.

It is also seeking a declaration that the order dated July 16, 2010 is unlawful and therefore null and void.

A date is yet to be fixed for hearing.

Following the incident, the management of the company petitioned the PURC, insisting that the damage to the equipment was not the direct result of the power surge.

The driver of the vehicle was arrested and arraigned on charges of overloading of his vehicle and causing damage to ECG equipment. The case is still pending at the Circuit Court.

The PURC then instituted an investigation into the matter and found out that the ECG was liable and therefore directed the ECG to pay the cedi equivalent of 75 per cent of 29,600 Euros being the cost of purchasing similar transmission equipment for Jubilee FM.

But the ECG would not take any of the findings of the PURC and, therefore, dragged the PURC and Management of Jubilee FM to court.

As part of its investigation, PURC undertook a field inspection and invited the officials from the ECG and Jubilee FM to several meetings aimed at mediating and settling the complaint.

The findings of the PURC, among other things, had it that the incident in question was not the first of its kind.

“There was evidence of the power line being patched in several places due to previous breaks,” it said.

The PURC said the clearance between the road surface and the line in question was reduced to less than five metres as a result of road works by Messrs Ways and Freytag over 10 years ago, a finding which was confirmed by ECG in their report.

Additionally, the PURC report stated that “Jubilee FM’s transmitter was burnt, most likely as a result of the power surge. Apart from Jubilee FM, many consumers in the area informally complained to PURC of the damage to their equipment when the incident occurred”.

The report said since the complaint was lodged with the PURC, ECG had taken steps to raise all lines along road crossings in the Dzelukope/Keta township.

The PURC, upon consideration of the issue, determined that ECG, before connecting a customer to its distribution network, should take prudent steps to ensure that the electrical installations on the customer’s premises complied with rules of electricity supply and distribution.

Besides, it directed ECG to undertake immediate review of its LV and HV networks to ensure that they met standard road crossing heights and minimum safety requirement for the protection of consumers.

With respect to Jubilee FM’s costs associated with hiring a temporary transmitter and loss of revenue, the PURC directed the ECG to pay the cedi equivalent of 900,000 CFA to the complainant to mitigate any loss of business.

Source: Daily Graphic

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