A consumer advocacy group has threatened to sue the Power Distribution Company (PDS) over attempts by the distributor to retrieve the over 84 million cedis accumulated electricity bills from the people of Manya Krobo in the Eastern Region.
According to the Consumer Advocacy Centre (CAC) – Ghana, the demand by PDS for the people in the area to pay the amount is illegal, unacceptable and flies in the face of the regulation on Electricity Supply and Distribution Rules, 2005 [L.I. 1816].
Attempt by the PDS to disconnect the people of Manya Krobo for owing in electricity bills triggered unrest in the area leading to the death of at least two people, who were allegedly shot by the Police.
Residents have refused to pay the amount over the years, claiming they have been overbilled but the PDS has denied the claims and vowed to retrieve the amount pegged at 84,625,624.87 cedis.
Regulation (20) sub regulation (8) of the L.I. states: “where a supplier fails to bill a customer for a period of 12 months, the supplier cannot recover the cost of that service, unless the delay in the billing occurred without negligence on the part of the supplier or due to the customer’s actions”.
CAC – Ghana argues there is no evidence to show that the people hindered or stopped the PDS from discharging their duties of billing the people of Manya Krobo.
“The PDS even in their deliberations with the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) have admitted that the failure to bill the Yilo Krobo consumers was as a result of their own internal system failures,” the group claims.
The group in a statement signed by its Director of Corporate Affairs, Benjamin Essuman, expressed disappointment in the PURC for asking the affected consumers “to pay for the negligence of the PDS” in the face of the law.
It wants the PURC to rule as illegal, the disconnection of electricity in the area by the PDS when the PDS has not satisfied their obligation under the rules.
“The mass disconnection that has taken place in the Yilo Krobo areas is illegal and the PURC must call it as it,” it stated.
CAC-Ghana also raised concern about the failure of the Member of Parliament for the area who triggered the negotiation with PURC, to stand his grounds.
“We hereby call on the PURC to reconvene the meeting of the parties and renegotiate fresh terms of agreement, having in mind the strict application of L.I. 1816,” it said in statement.
The group warned should the PURC fail to deliver justice in the matter, it will be compelled to institute a suit in the courts for a strict enforcement of L.I. 1816 and bring relief to the consumers of Ghana.
Meanwhile it has asked the affected residents in the area not to pay the PDS the amount in question.