PURC recovers over GHC215, 000 from consumers in three regions in first quarter

The Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) said it has refunded over GHC33 million to customers of GWCL and NEDCo within the same period

The Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) has retrieved GHC215,704.64 for the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) in the Bono, Ahafo and the Bono East regions under the Self-Help Electrification Project (SHEP) for the first quarter of this year.

The Bono, Ahafo and Bono East regional manager of the PURC, Patrick Antwi who disclosed this in an interview with Asaase News said the regulator also refunded GHC33,945.45 to customers of GWCL and NEDCo within the same period.

“In carrying out our various activities for the year based on complaints that come in, we have consumers who have been wrongfully billed. We have an adjustment that has been passed in favour of consumers and this adjustment came to a total of about 33,945.45. Then we have what we call the recoveries, just like how consumers have the opportunity to bring to us their problems or their issues.

“The utilities also have the right as per our LI 24(13) to also bring issues before us and normally we have main issues the utilities will bring before us. One is illegal connections and Two is nonpayment of bills, so with that, we had a recovery of GHC215, 704.64 for the utilities,” Antwi said.

The Bono regional office of the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) which also oversees the Ahafo and Bono East Regions at the beginning of this year rolled out a project dubbed “SHEP Project” for the first quarter.

The SHEP is based on data gathered by PURC on challenges in the previous year in SHEP communities that need to be addressed by the PURC.

Earlier this year, the PURC in collaboration with VRA/NEDCo held a forum which discussed and sought solutions to these issues.

This according to Antwi, led to a total of 365 complaints for the first quarter of this year with 98.4 per cent successfully resolved.

Additionally, 68 poles were replaced, six transformers were installed and 566 SHEP uncaptured meters were captured into NEDco’s system for billing, according to Antwi.

“What the commission normally focuses on is the impact of its activities and we make sure that the SHEP forum that was carried out was impactful. In fact, out of this particular programme, we were able to make sure that about 566 SHEP meters were captured into NEDCo’s system for billing. These meters had been in the system for a while and had not been captured and these consumers were not receiving bills,” he said.

Antwi said the SHEP has been impactful and would continue for the rest of the year. He continued to say the second quarter of this year will focus on a programme dubbed “Bridging the Gap” under which PURC forums would be held on the premises of the Utility Companies for consumers.

He said they would also continue with the tariff reckoner and consumption estimator App education to make sure consumers are not short-changed in billing.

The Bono, Ahafo and Bono East regional manager of the PURC called on the public not to hesitate to make complaints to the PURC for prompt and amicable settlement, adding that they are there for the public and utility service providers alike.

Reporting by Daniel Donkor in the Bono Region

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