The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), last year, recovered an amount of GH₵332,267.70 from customers, for the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) and Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) in the Upper East Region.
It also saved customers a total amount of GH₵26,538.23 from over charged bills and resolved 705 complaints from stakeholders.
This was achieved after both parties lodged complaints at the Upper East Regional office of the PURC which prompted investigations and action.
Mr Abdulai Ikililu, the Upper East Regional Complaint Resolution Officer, PURC, said this at the Commission’s second phase of nationwide Consumer Service Clinics in Bolgatanga.
He said, 35 electricity poles and 10 meters were replaced while seven transformers were injected and replaced within the same period, as part of resolving some of the challenges.
The Regional Complaint Officer noted that the Commission was established in the region in January 2022 and had since contributed significantly to improving quality of service and customer-service provider relationship.
He said the Commission had undertaken several outreach programmes to sensitise various communities in the region to enable residents appreciate the work and mandate of the Commission and the utility service companies and the rights and responsibilities of customers.
That, coupled with effective monitoring had contributed to the successful resolution of complaints and improvement on service provision while customers enjoyed relief for unjust service charges, he said.
Mr Ikililu reiterated the commitment of the Commission to honour its mandate by ensuring quality of service and value for money and urged customers to lodge complaints on unsatisfactory services at the Commission’s office for investigation and resolution.
Mr Eugene Addo, the Upper East Regional Area Manager, VRA/NEDCo, explained that illegal connections continued to be a major hindrance affecting the operations of the company, leading to loses and noted that efforts would be intensified to reward customers who report illegal connections in their areas.
“We expect our customers to pay their bills, we do not like situations where we will have to disconnect our consumers before they pay and for those who engage in illegal activities, we urge them to stop and people should report such activities to us for investigation,” he said.
Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, said access to electricity and water was key to the socioeconomic development of the region and noted that service providers must be proactive to live up to their mandate of providing quality service to residents of the region.
The Regional Minister urged the utility service providers to act promptly to resolve their technical, commercial and operational challenges to improve upon service delivery.
Mr Emmanuel Wayo Fiati, the Director of Water Services and Performance Monitoring at the PURC who spoke on behalf of Dr Ishmael Ackah, the Executive Secretary of the PURC, noted that the customer service clinic was a platform created to allow consumers to interact with utility service providers and present their complaints for redress.
The occasion brought together various stakeholders within the region including heads of government institutions, traditional and religious leaders, assembly members, security services, civil society organisations, traders, market women and dressmakers among others.