Govt directs ECG to refund excess charges in 14 days

The government has given the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) 14 days to refund all excess charges to its customers.

Already, the ECG says it has refunded over GH¢3 million resulting from the billing defect but the government wants the process to be expedited in order to restore sanity in the system.

At a meeting at the Flagstaff House yesterday to address the concerns of labour unions over recent adjustments in utility tariffs and petroleum prices, the Minister of

Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Haruna Idrissu, noted with concern that some of the charges that astronomically shot up electricity bills were not attributable to the adjustments announced by the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC).

‘The ECG is, accordingly, directed to take steps to end, within 14 days, the refund process,’ he said.

The Chief Executive of the ECG, Mr Robert Dwamena, who was at the meeting, said everything was being done to make full refunds.

He said any refund made was verifiable and so customers should have nothing to fear.

PURC’s earlier directive
Last Monday, the PURC gave the ECG and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) up to February 5 to refund excess bills to customers and threatened to impose sanctions on the two utility providers if they failed to heed to the directive.

In a statement, the commission warned that failure by the utility providers to comply with the order by February 5 would result in a surcharge of five per cent of the excess amount overbilled to every affected customer, in addition to the refund.

Far-reaching decisions
Although yesterday’s meeting could not arrive at a final resolution on the workers’ demands, the parties, nevertheless, took what the minister described as far-reaching decisions.

For instance, the Employment Minister said, the committee accepted the government’s principle to cushion industry following the adjustments.

Consequently, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) was asked to submit a comprehensive proposal to the President and the Minister of Finance detailing the prioritisation of key areas for immediate support.

Besides, he said, organised labour tabled some adjustments to its previous positions, which was indicative of the spirit behind the negotiations.

He gave an assurance that the decision reached to cushion lifeline consumers and the vulnerable over utility tariff adjustments would be communicated to the public.

The committee would continue its meeting today in a bid to bring a final resolution to the discussions.

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