The aggrieved members of the Brong-Ahafo Coalition of Businesses Association have intensified advocacy campaign for the establishment of a Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) Secretariat in the region to address the concerns of utility users.
The Association said they are unhappy over frequent power outages and fluctuations in parts of the region, which is affecting and collapsing their businesses.
According to them, the poor power supply has worsened in Dormaa, Techiman, Nkoranza and Wenchi Municipalities and called on the PURC to act quickly to save their businesses.
The Association, which has a membership of about 2,000 is made up of hairdressers, dressmakers, tailors, barbers, private FM radio stations owners, welders and cold store operators.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s meeting held in the Techiman Municipality, Mr. Mustapha Maison Yeboah, the Chairman of the Association expressed worry that businesses of over 20 per cent of the members were on the verge of collapse due to frequent power outages.
He cited that majority of cold store operators in the Dormaa Central Municipality have already lost their businesses and incurred huge debts as a result.
Mr Yeboah explained that because the PURC has no office in the region, it is affecting members as they have to travel to Kumasi to lodge complaints, a situation which he said, is extremely difficult for them.
The meeting formed part of an advocacy project being implemented by the Association with funding from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund.
Titled “Easing Access to PURC and Stabilizing the Supply of Electricity Power: Promoters of Business Growth in the Brong-Ahafo Region”, the project seeks to establish linkages with development partners both nationally and internationally.
The implementation of the 10-month advocacy project costing GH₵ 189,000.00 and being facilitated by the Centre of Posterity Interest Organization (COPIO) further aimed at providing advocacy services for rural and urban communities.
Mr Yeboah pointed out that easy access to the PURC offices would put fear into power and utility providers, and pushed the suppliers to compensate businesses for damaged property, electrical appliances and gadgets.
He added that electricity stability in the region would increase incomes of businesses and improve on tax mobilization.
Dr John Yaw Akparep, a Consultant to the Association expressed worry over the situation and advised the businesses to look for alternative way of power supply to sustain their economic activities.
He said it was unfortunate that the PURC has no offices in some of the regions, and called on the Commission to decentralize their operations down to the district level.
Dr Akparep who is a lecturer at the University of Development Studies noted that as the PURC remained a referee between utility providers and users, there was the need for it to be proactive in its operations to ensure speedy settlement of the differences between the two parties (utility service providers and consumers).