Thursday, January 30, 2014

ECG pays GH¢36,327.70 compensation (January 13, 2014 - page 49)

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has paid GH¢36,327.70 to 15 consumers whose equipment got damaged as a result of power surges and fluctuations in 2013.
The damaged equipment included domestic and commercial refrigerators,  a voltage guard, a corn mill, a Panasonic printer,  a Multi TV Digi Box and a plasma television. A hotel which had one of its rooms burnt due to poor service from the ECG was also compensated after it had submitted evidence to support its claims against the utility company.
Because of the persistent failure of the ECG to respond to the complaints of the affected consumers, they submitted separate petitions to the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) to investigate the matter to ascertain the cause of the damage.
Upon realising that the grievances of the consumers were genuine, the PURC proceeded to use powers vested in it to prevail on the ECG to pay the said compensation to the consumers.
According to the Director of Public Affairs and External Relations of the PURC, Nana Yaa Akyempim Jantuah, the affected consumers were five commercial entities and 10 individuals.
She said the amount paid to the distressed consumers ranged from GH¢150 to  GH¢5,045.70.
Ms Jantuah explained that the commission thoroughly investigated the complaints to ascertain the cause of damage before proceeding to let the utility service provider pay compensation to the consumer.
She reminded the public that compensation was paid by the utility company that caused the damage and not the PURC.
The PURC, she said, protected the interest of consumers in that regard and accordingly stressed that the PURC was committed to protecting the interest of all consumers of water and electricity.
Report problems to the PURC
Consumers whose equipment or appliances are damaged because of poor quality of service by utility service providers can report to the PURC for redress.
The commission is accordingly inviting all consumers of water and electricity who have lodged complaints with utility companies but have not received any feedback to report their grievances to the PURC for resolution.
Under the PURC (Complaints Procedure) Regulations 1999 (LI 1665), any consumer who has issues with any utility company is expected to send a written or oral compliant to the PURC.
Complainants are expected to provide their full names, contact addresses, telephone numbers, account numbers and the utility company or the person against whom the complaint is being lodged.
Particulars of the nature of the complaint, together with copies of any document in support of the complaint and the relief being sought by the aggrieved customer, must also be provided.
Per its procedures, the PURC then forwards copies of consumers’ complaints to the utility service provider against whom the said complaint has been lodged.
The Commission then conducts preliminary enquiry into the matter and also determines whether or not the complaint could be settled through mediation and settlement.
When there is a deadlock, the PURC conducts a formal hearing where both parties are given the opportunity to state their respective cases. The PURC, after the hearing, arrives at a decision.
In this regard, the PURC has expressed its commitment to ensure that dissatisfied consumers of water and electricity whose concerns have not been addressed by utility companies are resolved satisfactorily.

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