PURC cautions service providers against using disconnections as punishment

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) on Tuesday cautioned the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Water Company (GWC) against using disconnections to punish consumers.

Mr Kwasi Anokye, Manager, at the Legal Services of the PURC, said the practice was wrong and that it was obligatory that service providers gave consumers at least 28 days and an additional 14 days notice before disconnections were effected for non-payment of bills.

He gave the caution at a two-day workshop in Ho for ECG/GWC District and Commercial Managers from the Volta and Eastern Regions on the theme: “Enhancing Performance.”

Mr Anokye reminded service providers that they could only disconnect their consumers from Mondays to Thursday between 0800 hours and 1700 hours.

He said the service providers were permitted to disconnect customers on Fridays provided they were ready to re-connect at the weekends.

Mr Anokye said they could, however, disconnect their customers without notification in case of illegal connection or for safety and emergency purposes.

He said the law also provided that people above 65 years and consumers living with disabilities must be given a grace period of 30 days and an additional seven days notice before disconnection was effected.

Mr Anokye said consumers could exact compensations and penalties from the service providers if they do not comply with these legal provisions.

He asked workers of ECG and GWC to be abreast with their responsibilities and the regulatory provisions to enhance service delivery.

Dr. Simons Akorli, Director at the Regulatory Economics and Research Directorate of the PURC, said the introduction of the Automatic Adjustment Formula (AAF)-a PURC quarterly pricing mechanism, was to help resolve all tariff related issues.

He said the “PURC tariff policy was in the context of government policy” and called on all to support it.

Mrs Mami Dufie Ofori, Director, Consumer Services, PURC, noted that the workshops were impacting positively on the quality of customer care with the establishment of call centres, toll-free and the development of complaints code by service providers.

She said more work needed to be done on consumer education, faults management, revenue loss control and staff attitude.

Mrs Dufie Ofori said the PURC was aware of challenges such as lack of adequate investment, poor consumer support, illegal connections and political interference facing service providers and stated the commitment of the PURC, to supporting the service providers.

Source: GNA

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