PURC receives over 300 complaints in first quarter of 2023 in ER
By close of the first quarter of 2023, the Eastern Regional office of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has received more than 300 complaints from the public on service delivery of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Water Company (GWCL).
The complaints ranged from quality of service (power outages and low voltages, no flow of water overbilling, cable, and transformer issues etc) which meant, consumers were dissatisfied with services rendered by these regulated utility companies.
ECG alone had 274 complaints received by the PURC in the period, representing 84.57 percent whiles that of the GWCL was 50, representing 15.43 percent, and about 95 percent of all these complaints were resolved.
Out of the 274 complaints received against ECG, the Koforidua district had the highest number of 134 with Akwatia district having the least of just one report.
Mr Jude Aduamuah Addo, Eastern Regional Director of the PURC who disclosed this in an interview with the GNA indicated that 179 (55%) of all these complaints were received electronically or on social media platforms created by the PURC for consumers to have easy access to the service providers as well as to receive feedbacks from the public.
The PURC through outreach programmes such as churches, mosques, schools, and other social gatherings are able to reach out to the public all over the country to educate them on their mandate and create the platform for customers to be able to reach the utility providers with their concerns and vice versa.
In line with the PURC’s mandate, they undertake monitoring of standards and performance of industries, service reliability, customer service delivery, notification of maintenance exercises and scheduled bill delivering and pre-paid networks to ensure that customers were getting what they deserved in terms of service whiles the utility providers also get what they deserved in terms of payments.
Apart from the social media platforms including that dedicated to media practitioners in the region, the PURC has a complaints center where members of the public could walk in with any issue concerning the utility providers, “and we follow up to ensure its logical conclusion and in a manner which “improves service delivery and customer responsibility.”
Out of the complaints received, 179 (55%) were received electronically mostly on social media, field 38, walk-in 14, call-in 92 and written one, the Koforidua district had the highest number of 134 with Akwatia district recording the lowest of only one report.
“Our routine monitoring showed that service reliability is above 70 percent and that indicates that generally customers were satisfied with reliability of services provided by the regulated utility providers.”
The Commission’s mandate cut across both the consumer and the provider so whiles consumers complaints were dealt with, complaints from the service providers were also pursued “ so per the GWCL LI 24113 regulation, it also lodged complaints against some 48 Senior High Schools in the region for not paying their water bills amounting to GH¢1,298.867.05, with our intervention they have been able to recover GH¢326,093,64 at the end of the first quarter”.
“In same manner, the PURC has resolved complaints by the ECG against some customers for disputed bills and accumulated bills resulting in recoveries of debts and bill adjustments, which inured to benefit of the utility provider.”
The Regional Director urged the public not to take the laws into their own hands as far as service delivery from the utility companies were concerned adding that the Commission remained committed to protecting interests of the consumers and utility providers by balancing consumer expectations with utility needs as well as balance between quality service delivery and revenue recovery.