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The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has challenged a directive by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) that customers of the company can refuse to pay bills presented to them 12 months after they have consumed the utility.

According to the ECG the PURC appears to have misinterpreted the legislative instrument it is basing its directive on and has asked consumers not to get excited yet.

A statement from the ECG quotes the same legislative instrument used by the PURC, L.I. 1816, but adds rule 20(8), which says “where a supplier fails to bill a customer for a period of twelve months; the supplier cannot recover the cost of that service unless the delay in the billing occurred without negligence on the part of the supplier or due to the customer’s action.

This according to the ECG does not necessarily mean customers can refuse to pay accumulated bills.

The company maintains unless it is established beyond reasonable doubt that they have been negligent in submitting bills, customers must pay their accumulated bills.

It said the instrument quoted also means customers are obliged to pay all consumption billed within a previous period of 12 months.

They also insisted customers must pay all accumulated bills when they frustrate staff from billing them.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the ECG, Clend Sowu, has suggested bad faith on the part of the PURC because, he said, the interpretation of the directive is the subject of discussions between them.

He said it would therefore not be fair for the commission to issue such a directive.

It is not clear how this confrontation between the utility provider and the PURC would be settled.

But as the case stands now consumers, it appears, are quite confused by the developments.
Source: JFM

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