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22.09.2005 Business & Finance

Consumers in Ashanti owe GWCL

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Kumasi, Sept. 22, GNA - Consumers in Ashanti owe the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) about nine billion cedis out of which the company has been able to collect only 275 million cedis. "Even this was made possible through two private debt collectors, Solarland and Matchless Splendour, who between them collected 59 million cedis and 216 million cedis respectively," Nana Ewusi-Mensah, the Regional Commercial Manager said.

He told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Kumasi on Monday, that a total of about 12,892 consumers owed the company the nine billion cedis.

The company, he said operated eight districts in the Region and named them as Central, North, South, East, West, North East, North West and South East.

Out of these, Nana Ewusi-Mensah said three districts where there were 4,974 consumers in arrears of about four billion cedis and the remaining five districts had also been contracted to Matchless Splendour to collect about four billion cedis from about 7,918 consumers. Nana Ewusi-Mensah pointed out that the company spent a lot of money to bring potable water to consumers and as such every consumer should pay his or her water bill promptly.

He said the company stopped using PVC pipes of half an inch to one inch and now uses high-density pipes, but was quick to add that the customer could use PVC pipes in their premises.

The decision to stop using PVC, Nana Ewusi-Mensah explained was part of efforts to curb illegal connections and also that the high density pipes were more durable as far as leakages were concerned. He said it was very important for consumers to pay their bills to enable the company provide them with better services and said consumers had the right to report to the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) if they were dissatisfied with services.

The Commercial Manager said where the company had to take a recalcitrant consumer to court it gave such customer between six months and a year after which the one was put before court. When Mr Seth Ocra, General Manager of Solarland Company was contacted, he said there were some defaulters who had responded positively to the demand for payment and were ready to settle their bills.

However, he said, the stubborn customers had been tuned over to the company's lawyers for legal action to be taken against them.

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