The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has opened a Consumer Service Clinic in Koforidua to provide a platform for customers and service providers to file and manage complaints for quality service delivery in Eastern Region.
The consumer service centre provides a common hub for utility service consumers, providers, and PURC, the regulator, to provide consumer complaint handling guidelines and clarify the processes involved.
During the opening ceremony in Koforidua, Dr Ishmael Ackah, the Executive Secretary of PURC, said the platform was created to allow Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) to present to consumers their operations and complaint management processes.
He said the opening of the Koforidua clinic was part of a national initiative to give customers and utility service providers a better opportunity to have a single platform to file and manage complaints about the quality of utility services.
“It would be recalled that not too long ago, the PURC received tariff proposals from both the electric and water utilities, requesting tariff adjustments,” he said.
“As part of the tariff approval process, when the proposals were received, the Commission provided platforms for utility service providers in some major cities in the country to explain to consumers why they wanted tariff adjustments.”
Alhaji Jabaru Abukari, the Director for Regional Operations, PURC, advised customers to use the Consumer Service Clinic judiciously because it has brought together personnel from both ECG and GWCL to man the clinic.
Regarding bills, he said, “When you have a challenge with any of the providers, take your receipts to the clinic so that, with the help of your account details on the receipts, officers can use them to solve your problems immediately.”
On his part, Mr. Jude Aduamoah-Addo, the Eastern Regional Manager of PURC, said, “I will bring the attention of utility service providers with branches in remote areas to the need of customer care because feedback from our rural monitoring programmes indicates that when consumers lodge complaints, they do not get a rapid response.”
He then urged ECG and GWCL to strengthen their processes so that they could handle any type of complaint that came to them for swift and prompt action.
Representatives from the New Juaben Traditional Council, Security Agencies, and members of several groups, including the Association of Small-Scale Industries, the Ghana Hairdressers and Beauticians Association, and the Ghana Hoteliers Association attended the event.
Also present were the Eastern Regional Managers of ECG and GWCL, who provided attendees with an overview of their activities in the region, including the complaints handling procedure.
Ghana established the PURC in October 1997 as a multi-sectoral regulator under the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission Act, 1997 (Act 538) as part of the utility sector reform process to control the provision of utility services in the power and water sectors.