Public utility workers have come under a wave of attacks from the general public over anomalous electricity bills.
Deputy General Secretary of the Public Utility Workers Union, Michael Nyantakyi, says the attack has been intense following a confirmation of the anomalies by the Public Utility Regulation Commission.
“The people come direct to the office, they talk, they abuse the staff and there are two instances like that,” he said on Joy FM.
Nyantakyi said in the Kade area, “they [community members] chased our people, some with even machete and then recently at Adjei Kojo in Ashaiman, our people where physically assaulted.”
According to him, people make “direct references” to PURC’s statement which said consumers of electricity are being overbilled.
The PURC last month directed the Electricity Company of Ghana to suspend the implementation of the current billing software “until further notice.”
According to a statement from the PURC and copied to Pulse.com.gh, the directive has been "necessitated by Complaints which it has received from consumers of Electricity regarding issues of overbilling."
Customers who use the post-paid meters say they are being overcharged after the new tariff implementation.
"The Commission after a thorough investigation into the matter through our Monitoring Exercise which culminated into visits to specific areas and also interrogation of bills which were presented to consumers by the Electricity Company of Ghana, came to the conclusion that there was an anomaly in the initial implementation of the new billing software," a statement signed by Nana Yaa Jantuah, director of Public Relations and External Affairs of PURC added.
However, PURC’s directed was described as hypocritical by the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA).
The Director of Research at CPA, Nana Prempeh Agyeman told Pulse.com.gh that the directive is unfortunate considering the fact that the ECG was not consulted first hand on the matter.
He believed the issue of high tariffs has nothing to do with the software, adding that the PURC should channel its energy into ensuring that the taxes on the tariffs are reduced.
“PURC is aware of this software. PURC was part of the piloting project of this software before the implementation of the new tariff in 2015 December.
“And if the software is running and you have directed some faults or anomalies, the first point of call is ECG which is the service provider. This should have been done in house, before even you come to do it public. Once you do it in house, then you come up with a joint statement between PURC and ECG, and therefore consumers will be satisfied,” he said.
“This high tariff and billing has nothing to do with any software. It has all got to do with the tariff regime that PURC has given the ECG to implement. If you go through the tariff regime, we have almost seven taxes that have been added to this tariff regime,” Nana Prempeh added.