ENHANCE TRANSPARENCY TO GAIN TRUST – BONO REGIONAL MINISTER TO PURC
The Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu-Banahene, has challenged the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to institute policies and programmes that will enhance transparency and accountability in its work.
Ms Owusu-Banahene stated that that would enable the PURC to gain the confidence of both utility service providers and their customers.
She observed that over the years, the banter between customers and utility service providers had arisen as a result of the disconnect between the two parties, as well as poor service delivery among other concerns.
“There must be a concerted effort by the PURC to address this gap”, Ms Owusu-Banahene stated, while commending the PURC for playing the role of a referee between utility service providers and customers over the past 25 years.
She was speaking at a PURC Consumer Service Clinic held in Sunyani on Friday 10th March 2023, to create a bond between consumers and utility service providers.
At the clinic, the various utility service providers set up booths to allow aggrieved customers to seek solutions to their challenges.
The Sunyani Office of the PURC is in charge of the Bono, Bono East and the Ahafo regions.
Ms Owusu-Banahene encouraged citizens and all sector players, including academia, trade unions, and policy think-tanks, to continue to participate in the work of the PURC for the benefit of the citizenry.
She observed that water and electricity played a critical role in human life, ranging from household usage to industrial purposes.
Ms Owusu-Banahene said the success chalked up so far by the PURC over the years was quite tremendous, including the framework for the determination of utility rates.
“I would like to challenge you to institute transformative policies and programmes that would enhance transparency and accountability to drive home improvement in your work,” she said.
Ms Owusu-Banahene, however, called on consumers to pay their bills timeously, to enable the service providers provide the best of services to reduce conflicts to the barest minimum.
Customers, service providers
For his part, the Bono Regional Manager of the PURC, Patrick Antwi, stated that a total of GH¢ 24.9 million was paid by consumers to service providers in the area in 2022.
He added that more than GH¢42,000 was also paid back by the utility service providers to aggrieved customers.
Mr. Antwi explained that the types of complaints received from customers included quality of service delivery, consumer service delivery, billing, metering, unlawful disconnections, damaged property and payments.
He stated that while a total of 1,076 complaints were received from aggrieved utility consumers in the area in 2022, 1,062 of the complaints were resolved.
For his part, the Executive Secretary of PURC, Dr Ishmael Ackah, said the customer service clinic was instituted because the commission realised that customers were interested in quality service delivery even more than the review of tariffs.
Bringing together utility service institutions and customers to dialogue on their differences was therefore a way to improve customer service in order to serve the customer better, he explained.