The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has ended its 2023 regional engagement with the utility service providers at the Upper West Regional offices of the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) and the Ghana Water Limited (GWL) on Monday, October 30, 2023. This was part of a nationwide stakeholder engagement to enhance collaboration with utility service providers, while taking stock of their operations, performance, and challenges.
Dr. Ishmael Ackah, Executive Secretary of PURC who led the team, encouraged the utilities to collaborate with the regional offices of the Commission in terms of revenue mobilization and customer service-related issues. He emphasized the need for them to capitalize on the provisions in the L.I 2413, which allows them to also lodge complaints against consumers. He indicated that, as part of its operational efficiency for 2023, the Commission is focused on three key areas of Education, Engagement, and Enforcement (3Es).
Dr. Ackah further stated that, the Commission has set up a Center of Excellence in Public Utility Regulation (CEPUR) at GIMPA, which will help to develop competencies, expertise, research and inform policy-making decisions in regulation and governance in the electricity, water, and natural gas sector. He therefore admonished staff of the utilities to take advantage of the center to build their capacity.
Ing. Francis Yormesor, the Upper West Area Manager of NEDCo mentioned that the Area had reduced its system losses to 13.11%. He added that the region had also achieved a 54% Prepayment Meter (PPM) penetration. Ing. Yormesor indicated that, to increase coverage, efforts are being made to place the whole of Wa township, especially MMDAs, on the PPM platform.
Ing. Yormesor mentioned that, the main challenge of the Area was the absence of substations on the Wa-Hamile feeder. He further indicated that, the lack of a substation, made the whole feeder trip whenever there was a slight disturbance on the line.
Alhaji Jabaru Abukari, Director, Regional Operations and Consumer Services at PURC, reiterated the need for the utility service providers to collaborate with the PURC regional office to develop localized measures to address challenges.
Dr. Eric Obutey, Director, Research and Corporate Affairs, charged the utilities to own the tariff and educate consumers whenever a decision is announced.
Mr. Cletus Diekuu, Ag. Chief Manager of GWL, Upper West region, revealed that the region has started experiencing the challenge of small-scale illegal mining “galamsey” activities around Cherikpong. He indicated that, these miners wash the ore directly into the Black Volta, from which, the GWL abstracts its raw water for treatment at Jambusie. He mentioned that, these activities if not checked will have dire consequences on the water quality in the region.
Ms. Maame Esi Eshun in presenting the performance of the utilities in the Ghana Utilities Performance Index (GUPI), commended the NEDCo area office for coming second (2nd). GWL were also urged to improve and move from their current fourth (4th) position.
The PURC team included: Dr. Ishmael Ackah, Executive Secretary; Alhaji Abukari Jabaru, Director of regional Operations and Consumer Services; Dr. Eric Obutey, Director, Research and Corporate Affairs; Mr. Edmund Kwaku Tufour, Head of Consumer Service, Monitoring and Operations; Mr. Robert Aziz, Head of Corporate Affairs; Ms. Maame Esi Eshun, Head of Executive Secretary’s Secretariat; Mr. Cassiel Eghan Asiedu, Upper West Regional Manager; Mr. Bryan Adaare, I.T. Officer at the Head Office. Mr. Mustapha T. Kachu, Complaint Officer; Mrs. Zenabu Gyamfi, Administrative Officer; Mr. Bashiru Nuhu Amin, Public Relations Officer; and Bilal Alhassan Pelpuo, Assistant Admin. Officer.