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PURC orders ECG to suspend new billing software

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PURCThe Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has ordered the Electricity Company of Ghana to suspend the implementation of their new billing software until further notice.

A statement by the PURC, signed by Nana Yaa Akyempim Jantuah, the Director of Public Relations & External Affairs, said the action by the Commission had been necessitated by the complaints it had received from consumers of electricity regarding the issues of overbilling.

The PURC has, therefore, ordered the ECG to with immediate effect to put in the following measures to alleviate the plight of Customers who have been slapped with high bills because of the implementation of the new billing software.

The measures include; the appointment of an independent billing software expert to audit the new billing system currently being rolled out and present a report to the Commission within 10 working days.

The ECG must reconnect customers who had been wrongfully billed and disconnected and to also correct all billing anomalies and rebill all consumers who had been affected, it said.

PURC also directed ECG to provide adequate training to frontline staff to enable them to effectively implement and use the new billing software.

The statement said the Commission, after a thorough investigation into the matter through its monitoring exercises and visits to specific areas, and also through the interrogation of bills which were presented to consumers by the Electricity Company of Ghana, came to the conclusion that there was an anomaly in the initial implementation of the new Billing Software.

Some of the key Issues that came to the fore during the monitoring exercises and investigations were that, the ECG was billing Customers over irregular Periods from 18 days – 43days, which was in contravention of the 28 day billing cycle for the Customer.

Some customers were billed above the PURC approved service charge and the approved tariff by the PURC in December 2015.

The ECG billed customers who had been disconnected over a period of six months with the accumulated debt figure, instead of their monthly actual consumption, it said.

The statement said more than 62 per cent of the complaints received by the PURC in the first quarter of 2016 were on overbilling as compared to the previous year’s 18 per cent.

“Customer Billing Data shows clearly that the ECG, has challenges with migrating customer information from the old Billing System to the new Billing System (Software),” the statement said.

PURC said investigations had revealed that District Front line Staff who were entrusted to issue customer bills did not have the adequate technical capacity to accurately use the new billing software hence the billing anomalies customers are experiencing.

Source: GNA

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