The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has ordered the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to pay GH¢202,640 as a sanction for breaching its statutory obligations.
The sanction constitutes penalties for the breach of its obligation in respect of the opening hours of customer service centres and pre-payment metering vending points which denied customers the opportunity to buy credits for their power supply.
A statement issued by the commission and signed by its Director of Public Relations and External Affairs, Nana Yaa Akyempim Jantuah, said the penalty also covered the ECG‘s refusal to provide contingency measures to ensure customers of pre-payment metering could proceed to buy credit during the industrial strike which was embarked on by ECG workers in the first week of September 2016.
The statement said the order to pay penalties should be adhered to by the ECG before September 16, 2016 as stipulated by law.
It said failure by the ECG to comply with the order would attract an additional GH¢10,000 for each day of non-compliance.
Customers of ECG who were using pre-payment metering service were unable to purchase credit at the beginning of September 2016 because the ECG workers embarked on a strike action concerning the introduction of private participation in the operation of the ECG.
The striking workers even turned away customers who came to the centres to pay their bills.
The statement said the PURC, as the regulator of water and electricity services, said it had the mandate to protect the interest of the consumers and ensure the financial viability of the utility service provider.
It said the commission “will tip this balance carefully and equitably by using all the relevant laws and regulations available to assist us fulfil our regulatory mandate.”
Meanwhile, the management of ECG described the directive by the PURC as “unfair and unjust’’ writes Salomey Appiah, ACCRA.
According to the ECG,the strike was an industrial issue which was beyond the management of the company.
“The issues raised by the workers were issues of policy concerns and the government even saw the need to engage them, “the Public Relations Manager of ECG, Mr William Boateng told the Daily Graphic in an interview.
Therefore, he said the management of the company did not see the need for any punishment whatsoever.
Mr Boateng said the PURC was fond of making public its directive anytime there was an issue with the ECG.