Samuel Dubik Masubir Mahama
The Electricity Company of Ghana has ruled out any compensation for customers who were unable to buy electricity credits because of a technical challenges based on the directive by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC).
The Managing Director of the power distribution company, Samuel Dubik Masubir Mahama, said to compensate customers will only be done on a “case-by-case basis”.
He said the Company has no problem with the directive but will only compensate customers if they provide evidence of their challenges.
Recent disruptions on the prepaid metering system of the Company resulted in many customers going days without power.
The Company later announced resolution of the challenges in all the regions except the Ashanti Region, whose problem was solved on Wednesday, October 5, 2022.
But the PURC earlier in the week charged ECG to provide appropriate compensations for the failures recorded across the country as it breaches regulations of utility providers.
ECG is to pay a compensation of GH¢15 in credit equivalent to all affected lifeline consumers and GH¢120 and GH¢240 to residential and non-residential customers respectively.
According to the PURC, the directive is to exact responsive customer service from ECG.
But addressing journalists in Accra on Thursday, October 6, 2022, Mr Mahama insisted that the compensation cannot be for everybody.
“What we are also seeing is that just by one person saying something, there were panic buys. There were people that didn’t need to form queues but were in the queues. So, how should I compensate somebody who I shouldn’t compensate?”
He expressed unhappiness that the PURC went ahead in giving the directive, having not listened to his side.
Earlier, Charles Ayiku, the Manager in Charge of External Relations at the ECG, said his outfit was currently hamstrung.
“For now, we cannot provide any compensation. As you are aware, we are going through some level of challenges, so I would plead that we conclude on that, and we can look at the issue of compensation.”
But the Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Protection Agency, Kofi Kapito, who had made an early call for compensation, insisted that the ECG was obliged to compensate customers.
“If it [compensation] is not on the table, they better put it on the table because it is not fair,” he said.
“So the excuse doesn’t hold water anymore because if you are telling me that you have identified the challenge, and you cannot correct it from Tuesday to Friday, it is not adequate.”
Mr. Kapito also stressed that the challenge was the fault of the ECG.
“This is not a force majeure. It is a man-made thing… so nobody should tickle themselves by saying it is no fault of theirs. It is their fault.”
Over two weeks, customers have been unable to purchase credit on their prepaid meters, either by using the ECG App or from vending outlets.
By Vincent Kubi