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PURC Warns ECG, NEDCO Over Faulty Meters   
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The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission has directed the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO) to rectify all problems associated with some of their prepaid meters with regard to retrospective billing.

“The PURC finds it mostly unacceptable that the accounts of Customer of BXC prepaid cash deposits are being credited to the accounts of other customers during the month of October 2013 in the Bortianor Districts in the Greater Accra Region,” the PURC Executive Secretary Samuel Sarpong said.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, he said, the commission is acting on the numerous complaints it has received from customers on the malfunctioning of the prepaid meters.

He said the PURC may be forced to enforce stiff punishment against ECG if it does not address complaints of customers in a fortnight.

“During our monitoring exercises, it came out clearly that the ECG Frontline Staff and credit vendors at the various vending points were not adequately educated on how to handle issues regarding implementation of new tariffs,” Mr. Sarpong.

He blamed the ECG for failing “woefully” to educate consumers on the characteristics of the prepaid meters which have been installed at the premises of consumers.

The PURC last month charged utility service providers to ensure “tariff increases should correspond to an improvement in quality of service, and the commission will ensure that key benchmarks for attainment of the acceptable levels of quality of service are strictly adhered to.”

The commission said technical and commercial losses should not exceed 21% for distribution companies -- the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO).

The ECG has managed in the last two years to reduce its technical and commercial losses from 27 percent to about 22 percent, but the regulator wants the electricity distributor to further reduce its losses.

The ECG must develop an efficient billing and revenue collection effort to meet the regulatory benchmark of a 95 percent collection ratio, and address challenges associated with pre-paid meters being used by consumers,” the PURC said.

The commission also wants the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) to limit its transmission losses to 3.5 percent, while the Volta River Authority (VRA) is to ensure generation plant availability of 92 percent for thermal plants, and 95 percent for hydro.

It said utility service providers must further institutionalise effective and prudent cost-control measures to ensure a fair return on investment, and undertake internal restructuring to provide the necessary guidance and supervision to ensure effective and efficient operations.
Source: B&FT

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