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12.10.2008 Social News

PURC to appraise findings of nationwide tour

By GNA

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) is to appraise findings of its countrywide tour of water and electricity facilities
to enable it to keep the appropriate leverage on the two utility companies and their customers.

While in Ho on the last of their tour on Thursday the Commission's team interacted with regional management teams of the two utilities separately and sought information on state of equipment, production data and relations with consumers.

PURC is an independent body established by law to regulate and oversee the provision of utility services in the country.

Mr Boakye Frimpong, Chief Manager of the Aqua Vittens Rand Limited, Managers of Ghana Water Company (GWC) told the Team that the major complaints of consumers' in the region were about wrong disconnection, complex tariff structure, leakage, over billing and “no flow” of water.

He said recent reports of meter readings in certain areas of the Ho Municipality based on conjecture had been investigated and culprits sacked for dereliction of duty.

Mr Frimpong said a committee was working to reconcile the consumption accounts of the affected consumers.

He said there were 15 water supply systems in the Volta Region, serving seven districts with the four-million gallons per day design capacity Kpeve Station, which supplies water to Ho and Peki, being the biggest.

Mr Frimpong said the Kpeve facility which could be re-engineered to produce 7 million gallons per day now was able to pump only 1.74 million gallons per day.

Daniel Gezele, Manager at the Kpeve Pumping Station, some 20 minutes drive from Ho who took the PURC team round said the plant was operating a single low lift pump without standby and many parts of the high lift pumps were operating under capacity.

He said production trend for a few years now had been to stop pumping when power dipped or hiked, to prevent equipment damage, which sometimes slowed down water flow to consumers.

Mr Rudolph Nii Awuley Mensah, Regional Chemist assured the team about the water quality control system but agreed with Commission Members that laboratory equipment needed upgrading and for a more effective departmental supervision schedule.

At the PURC team's meeting with officials of the Electricity Company Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Chairman said the clarity of the company's Regional Management Team's profile of activities was refreshing.

He commended the team for recording some of the lowest down times (power cut hours) in the country and also for the smooth changeover from credit metres to pre-paid meters in Ho and its environs.

Mr Felix Fiebor Volta Regional ECG Manager said wooden poles were being replaced with concrete ones to stop the yearly ritual of having to replace large numbers of poles burnt in bush fires.

He said the new switching system being installed at Jasikan would change the supply line linkage regime to reduce the extent to which faults in one area in the northern parts of the region affected other parts in the area.

Mr Fiebor explained that hitherto all areas there were hooked on to a single switch at Hohoe.

Mr Theophilus Asante Darko, Regional Commercial Manager in answer to a question on consumer behaviour said they were beginning to detect possible cases of some consumers configuring ways of cheating the Pre-Paid (Electro Cash) system.
In their contributions the commissioners advised that the ECG differentiated between its commercial and technical losses and also put higher stakes on customer relations in the region.

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