In the quest to have good reportage on its regulatory issues and policies to the consuming public, the PURC organized an educational training program for its media fellowship members. The program was held on Saturday, September 23, 2023 at the Hill View Hotel, Abokobi in the Greater Accra Region.
The three-day program brought together Journalists, Management of the PURC, and Members of the Stakeholder Management Committee to interact, while sharing ideas on regulatory issues in the power and water sectors of the country.
The chairman of the Research and Stakeholder Management Committee, (RSMC) of PURC, Mr. Patrick Nyarko, in his opening address, encouraged the PURC Media Fellowship members to help improve the narrative about the Commission, by educating the public on the operations, functions, and policies of the Commission, which benefits the consumer and the service providers.
The Director of Water Services and Performance Monitoring (WSPM) at the PURC, Ing. Emmanuel Fiati who spoke on behalf of the Executive Secretary, Dr. Ishmael Ackah, noted that, the fellowship owed the Commission a duty to report accurately on PURC’s regulatory issues and policies, which he said, was the main rationale behind the engagement. He further indicated that, the periodic engagement was part of the Commission's transparency, accountability, and corporate governance agenda, which could be achieved through a synergy between the PURC Media Fellowship and the Commission, while taking feedback from stakeholders to ensure good communication.
The Director of Regional Operations and Consumer Services (ROCS), Alhaji Jabaru Abukari, took participants through the various complaint management and monitoring processes as well as the various laws that govern it. The Director further explained and demonstrated how the Database Management Systems (DBMS) of PURC was used to track complaints lodged with the Commission and action taken by designated officers. He reiterated the point that, the DBMS could also be used for checks and balances in the flow and monitoring of processes through the help desk on the DBMS. Alhaji Jabaru, subsequently revealed that, the Commission received 7,123 complaints and resolved 6,613 by mid 2023, while helping to replace 5,265 meters. Similarly, the Commission assisted in the replacement of 886 electricity poles as of mid-year 2023 in both ECG and NEDCo operational areas.
Mr. Gershon Mallot Vivor, Senior Manager at the Energy Services and Performance Monitoring (ESPM) at the PURC, took participants through regulatory monitoring with the service providers and how it has augmented operations of the service providers to the resolution of complex complaints caused as a result of power fluctuation and sometimes negligence on the part of both consumers and service providers.
The Head of Complaints Data at the PURC, Mr. Leon Acquaye, during the training, took participants through two recent Apps, which were developed by the Commission to help consumers understand and know their expected bills at the end of the month. These two Apps located on the PURC website are the PURC energy consumption estimator and the reckoner, which could be used to ascertain customers consumption either in monetary terms or volumes.
Participants indicated that, their expectations of the training program were met as it enlightened and ushered them into the operations of the Commission, while broadening their knowledge base on the various regulations employed by the Commission in the discharge of its duties. Participants seized the opportunity to ask, and deliberate on issues of regulation bothering them and sought appropriate answers accordingly.
The training program was attended by the Management of the PURC, Members of the Research and Stakeholder Management Committee if the Commission, External Commissioners, staff from the ESPM, Legal Services Directorate, and Research and Corporate Affairs Directorate.