If the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) needs to be sanctioned, the benefit should go directly to the consumer and not the regulator, Consumer Rights advocate, Kofi Kapito has said.
His concern comes after the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) fined the state power distributor GHS202,640 for breaching LI 1861 and LI 1935. ECG refused to sell prepaid power to customers during a recent three-day strike in protest to the proposed privatisation of ECG. The situation caused a lot of discomfort to both domestic and industrial customers who had to struggle to keep their homes and businesses lit.
Speaking to Class News, Mr Kapito said the consumer who was inconvenienced by the ECG strike should be the direct beneficiary of the fine but wondered how that would be possible.
“…How did they (PURC) even come up with the GHS200,000 and even let’s assume that their intention is to collect GHS200,000, that GHS200,000 does not belong to PURC, that GHS200,000 belongs to the people who suffered, who are the consumers. The question is: in Ghana, regulators collect revenues in the name of the consumers or the people that the service has affected; meanwhile, we don’t get anything, so the question is: how will the consumer be compensated? Because in other jurisdictions, this is some of the things that would have been in favour of the consumer. ECG would have said that everybody that buys prepaid, everybody that was inconvenienced should be given let’s say GHS5 of their bill but the PURC has no right to collect that money,” he told Naa Deedei Tettey in an interview on 12Live on Class 91.3FM.
“How do they even justify that it is only GHS200,000?” Mr Kapito asked, adding that: “People of Ghana who are subscribers of ECG were denied nine hours of getting power. So if you are going to sanction them, I think it would have been proper for us to sit down including the service provider, PURC and consumers for us to find a better way of doing this. …Let’s assume they fine them GHS200,000, which consumer is going to benefit from the GHS200,000? How is that money going to be distributed? This idea where regulators collect money in the name of consumers and they don’t even give it to consumers and that money is used by the regulators as to how they want to use it without benefitting the consumer should be looked at seriously as a nation because in other jurisdictions, if a consumer is disadvantaged, a direct relief is given to the consumer”.