The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) has issued a strong rebuke of the Public Utility Regulation Commission (PURC) in Ghana, accusing the regulatory body of failing to adequately supervise the country’s utility service providers. The CPA has claimed that the PURC has not lived up to its obligations under Act 538 of the 1992 Constitution to protect the interests of consumers.
According to the CPA, the PURC’s focus on tariff adjustments has come at the expense of consumer protection, with utility service providers failing to provide satisfactory service to their customers.
In a press conference held in Accra on March 8th, the CEO of the CPA, Kofi Kapito, expressed concern over the lack of regulatory oversight of the utility companies, stating that the PURC had “failed woefully” in its mandate to protect the common interests of consumers.
Kapito highlighted the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission Act, 1997 (Act 538), which establishes the PURC as the regulatory body responsible for overseeing the provision of utility services by public utilities to consumers.
The Act also provides that the Commission should not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority in the performance of its functions.
Despite this, the CPA has criticized the PURC for its apparent lack of enforcement power when it comes to ensuring that utility service providers meet consumer expectations. Kapito called on the PURC to use its power to enforce better service standards from the utility companies, and threatened legal action if the PURC continues to announce tariff adjustments while consumers continue to suffer poor service.
He further argued that the PURC should be using the same strength in enforcing service standards as it does in announcing tariff increases.
The CPA’s rebuke of the PURC highlights the need for regulatory bodies to prioritize consumer protection and hold service providers accountable for providing satisfactory services to consumers.