The African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), says it is not enough for the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) to suspend the implementation of the new electricity billing software by the ECG.
ACEP believes the PURC should rather compel ECG to comply with the section of the PURC Act which requires the utility to adjust consumers’ next bill with the excess amount or pay cash to them.
“Suspension of the software is not enough. PURC should compel ECG to comply with the section of the PURC Act which requires the utility to adjust consumers’ next bill with the excess amount or pay cash to them (Sec 27),” a section of a statement released by ACEP indicated.
The comments by the energy think tank come days after the PURC directed the ECG to suspend their new billing software.
The Commission explained that the move was necessitated by numerous complaints filed by consumers who were alarmed by the rate at which credit were used up.
ACEP however believes the implementation of the directive will be chaotic if power should be sold between the period of suspension and rectification of the software.
The statement also noted, “PURC therefore failed to analyze the consequences of their directive. A freeze on billing on the other hand, will cut power to many consumers, particular prepaid consumers, until the software is corrected. By ordering suspension of the software PURC is agreeing that consumers have been over-billed.”
ACEP further urged aggrieved customers to resort to the courts to demand accountability from the utility providers if the regulator, the PURC, is not protecting them as required by law.
Meanwhile ACEP has disclosed plans to begin a campaign to educate consumers about remedies available so that the Regulator/ECG do not abuse the contract between the utilities & the consumer.
The statement also seeks that,
“The ECG publishes the Customer Charter as required by law so that customers have basis to evaluate its service.”
In a related development, ACEP is impressing on government to reduce the levies and taxes.
It believes government can do that without undermining the work of the utilities.
“ If the intention of government is to raise more revenue to create jobs and develop the country, how about the opportunity cost – industries that create many of the jobs folding up under higher end user tariff and some even moving to Ivory Coast as we are told?” the energy think tank asserted.
“The 10% energy levy for National electrification and public lighting is regressive and punishes industrial consumers the more. We therefore propose that government should consider a flat rate to lessen the burden on industry,” ACEP stressed.
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana