Upon a careful enquiry into the disturbances that occurred at Yilo Krobo areas between consumers of electricity and the Power Distribution Company (PDS), we the Consumer Advocacy Centre (CAC) – Ghana have found the demands of the electricity supplier as brazenly illegal, unacceptable and very unfortunate.
The Ghanaian law on utilities L.I. 1816 regulation (20) sub regulation (8) clearly frowns on the posture of the PDS as a supplier that reneged on its billing duties. We hereby wish to bring to the notice of the management of PDS, this particular law, stating: “where a supplier fails to bill a customer for a period of twelve (12) months, the supplier cannot recover the cost of that service, unless the delay in the billing occurred
a. without negligence on the part of the supplier, or
b. due to the customer’s actions”
From the record, there is no evidence that the PDS (Electricity Company of Ghana) were hindered/frustrated or stopped by the consumers from discharging their duties of billing this class of consumers. The PDS even in their deliberations with the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) have admitted that the failure to bill the Yilo Krobo consumers was as a result of their own internal system failures.
The Consumer Advocacy Center, inspired by L.I. 1816 therefore asks the affected Yilo Krobo electricity consumers not to pay for the years that PDS refused/failed to bill them for the supplies.
Accordingly, we are disappointed in the PURC for asking the affected consumers to pay for the negligence of the PDS, even in the face of the Electricity Supply and Distribution (Technical and Operational) Rules, 2005 (L.I. 1816). We hereby call on the PURC to uphold the rights of the Ghanaian Consumer as enshrined and safeguarded under this law.
The Consumer Center wishes to remind the Member of Parliament, the Local Assembly, the Assembly Members, the Chiefs and Opinion Leaders in Yilo Krobo area, that the laws of Ghana do not permit the supplier of utilities to charge consumers for electricity or water consumed but not billed for over 12 months period. We are not happy that the Member of Parliament who triggered the negotiation with PURC did not stand his grounds for the consumer’s right under this very law.
We hereby call on the PURC to reconvene the meeting of the parties and renegotiate fresh terms of agreement, having in mind the strict application of L.I. 1816. In furtherance, we invite the PURC to rule that it is illegal for the PDS to disconnect electricity consumers when the supplier has not satisfied their obligation under the rules. The mass disconnection that has taken place in the Yilo Krobo areas is illegal and the PURC must call it as it. The Consumer Advocacy Center will not hesitate to institute a suit in the courts for a strict enforcement of L.I. 1816 and bring relief to the consumers of Ghana should the arbitrator fail to deliver justice.
DIRECTOR, CORPORATE AFFAIRS
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Joe Bright Nyarko
Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.