Get Serious, Utility Companies

“As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.” (1 Timothy 5:20).

AS a nation, we have failed to name and shame the deviants in our society where vice has become the norm and virtuous people are ridiculed for standing up for the truth.

Service delivery by the utility service providers, particularly the providers of electricity, this year has fallen below the expectations of their customers. But the problem has become worse in recent times, causing public angst against those providers — the Volta River Authority (VRA), the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Ghana Grid Company (GRiDCo) and the Ghana Water Company (GWC).

On countless occasions, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has issued warnings to these service providers for the poor quality of services to their customers.

In spite of that, we are tempted to add the PURC to the long chain of non-performing agencies because the commission has not come hard enough on the service providers.

Within the last month or two, there have been places which have gone without power for days. What is more worrying is that these outages have not been explained to the customers. Calling a customer care centre is even worse — either you remain on the line unattended to or someone attends to you after a long wait, only to tell you, “We will inform our fault team to check the situation.”

So bad is the situation that in Ghana now, power outages have become the norm, not the exception, and many people do not seem to be surprised when they experience them or are told about them.

The Daily Graphic thinks that mere admonishment is not enough to deter non-performing institutions, especially when the problem becomes a norm and not an exception.

We believe St Paul’s message to Timothy is poignant enough not to be swept under the carpet. It must be taken seriously by all managers in order to achieve improvement in the delivery of services in the country.

Every chief executive officer (CEO) of our state enterprises has signed a performance contract to deliver on agreed targets.

Performance contracts have been globally acclaimed as the most effective and promising means of improving the performance of public enterprises.

Performance contracts generally establish general goals for agencies, set targets for measuring performance and provide incentives on achieving targets.

It seems those appointed to lead appear to be more interested in the incentives than meeting the targets. It has, therefore, become increasingly difficult for us to see any head fired for failing to deliver on his or her targets.

We agree that the PURC may not have the power to dismiss any CEO of the utility agencies because it does not lie in their mandate. But it is in their purview to protect the interest of Ghanaians as far as the provision of utility services is concerned.

What Ghanaians want is the efficient, effective and constant supply of power and water. But, for whatever reason, they deserve to be told why they have been denied legitimate services which they have paid for.

The Daily Graphic thinks that admonition by the PURC is not deterrent enough and that explains why the service providers have treated the warnings with contempt or as business as usual.

We, therefore, urge officials of the PURC to give meaning to their mandate and take concrete action that will facilitate the efficient delivery of these services. And, if, in the course of doing that the axe must fall on non-performing officials of these institutions, so be it.

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