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16.10.2008 General News

PURC To Appraise Findings On Water, Power Facilities

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

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  Aqua Vitens Rand Limited, contact managers of Ghana Water Company  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  Kpeve Station, which supplies water to Ho and Peki, being the biggest, with a designed capacity of four millions gallons daily.

Mr Frimpong said the Kpeve facility which could be re-engineered to produce seven million gallons per day  is presently able to pump only 1.74 million gallons per day.

Daniel Gezele, Manager of the Kpeve Pumping Station, near Ho, who took the PURC team round said the plant was operating a single low lift pump without a standby while 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. This 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 departmental supervision schedule made more effective.

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

He commended the management team for recording some of the lowest down times (power cut hours) in the country and also for the smooth changeover from credit meters 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 Theophilus Asante Darko, Regional Commercial Manager in an answer to a question on consumer behaviour said that they were beginning to detect possible cases of some consumers configuring ways of cheating the Pre-Paid (Electro Cash) system.

The commissioners advised the ECG to differentiate between its commercial and technical losses and also to put higher stakes on customer relations in the region.