The Executive Secretary of PURC, Dr. Ishmael Ackah, and a delegation from the PURC Head Office paid a working visit to the offices of Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) on July 24 and 25, 2023 in the Western Region. These visits are part of the Commission’s 2023 strategic goal dubbed, “Year of Operational Efficiency”, which focuses on three main thematic areas, namely Education, Engagement, and Enforcement.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Ishmael Ackah indicated that the Commission is committed to regularly engaging the Utility Service Providers to discuss issues pertinent to the electricity and water sectors and to strengthen collaborations between the Commission and the Service Providers.
Both regulated utilities made presentations, highlighting their operations, achievements, and challenges in providing quality and reliable services to consumers in the region. The challenges highlighted by the Utility Service Providers include illegal connections, meter theft, destruction of service infrastructure, the effects of small-scale illegal mining (Galamsey), and customers’ failure to pay utility bills.
Following presentations of the Utility Companies, the PURC team, highlighted four areas of concern to be addressed with respect to operations of ECG and GWCL. These are customer engagement and education, losses, enforcement, and documentation.
Speaking on customer engagement and education, the ECG and GWCL teams were entreated to intensify communication with their customers to ensure that, they are well informed on issues such as implementing new policies, scheduled maintenance, and unplanned power outages, among others. This would help to foster a good relationship between the Service Providers and customers.
The PURC team emphasized the point of implementing measures, which could help the utilities to reduce their losses to be in line with PURC benchmarks. The Service Providers were encouraged to intensify their efforts in metering customers and serving detailed utility bills regularly to improve revenue collection, while ensuring that vending centers and payment platforms are operational and available to customers at all times. The installation of regional boundary meters was also outlined to accurately measure distribution losses at the entry and exit points to reduce issuance of estimated bills.
The team further highlighted the need for Service Providers to properly document their operations in project completions, near misses, and the preparation of metering audit reports to enhance data collection analysis and to ensure safety. The ECG and GWCL teams were encouraged to handle criminal cases, such as power theft in line with law by following due process and conducting thorough investigations and data collection on each topic.
To conclude the discussions, a summary of the 2021 performance of each institution (ECG and GWCL) using results of the Ghana Utility Performance Index (GUPI) was presented. The results highlighted key performance indicators analyzed in the GUPI, which was published by the Commission in 2022. The report commended each institution in areas of high performance and to help identify low-performance areas for improvement.
ECG and GWCL regional teams expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to engage the PURC. They indicated their readiness to tackle all shortfalls and concerns identified during the engagements. The PURC team appreciated the Utilities' openness and willingness to address their challenges. They assured the utilities that their concerns would be considered and collaborative efforts would be intensified to improve the services provided to the citizens of Ghana.
During an interview at Connect FM in Takoradi, the Executive Secretary of PURC, Dr. Ishmael Ackah, and the Western Regional Manager of PURC, Mr. Jonathan Akwetey, educated consumers about the importance of Quarterly Tariff Reviews (QTR) for water and electricity. Dr. Ackah encouraged consumers of water and electricity not to hesitate to lodge complaints to the Commission if they were dissatisfied with the quality of utility services delivered in the Western Region. Additionally, he emphasized the need for consumers to conserve electricity and store water.
|Meeting with Management and Staff of the Western Regional office of GWCL|
|Meeting with Management and Staff of the Western Regional office of ECG|