GHS3 million has been refunded to at least 333,902 prepaid metre users, who were overbilled recently, Deputy Power Minister John Jinapor has said.
Some angry prepaid customers complained on Class91.3fm’s Executive Breakfast Show(EBS)on Wednesday January 20 that their credits have been running out unusually, since the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), announced a 59.2% upward adjustment in tariffs.
Mr Jinapor explained to Citi Breakfast Show host Bernard Avle on Thursday that the “system was configured to rise from the 1st of every month, but they informed me that the tariff adjustment took effect on the 15th, so, it calibrated as if it was charging customers on the 1st.”
“I’ve asked them to work on their systems and to rectify that, so that we do not have a repeat of that problem,” he added.
“From the information they [ECG] gave me, they have a prepayment metre customer base of 531,014. Out of that they have credited back about 333,902. So, they are in the process of rectifying that.”
“There are some customers still on the old tariffs – that’s about 44,458 customers – so, they are in the process of resolving that,” he said.
Meanwhile a group known as the Prepaid Demonstrators Group has demanded that authorities reverse the tariff increase or face its wrath.
Its Public Relations Officer, Kwabena Barimah, speaking on Accra100.5fm’s breakfast show, Ghana Yensom, on Wednesday January 20, said the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) was ripping off customers, by applying a rate of increase different from the announced 59.2%.
He said there had been a groundswell of complaints by persons using prepaid metres about their credits getting used up too quickly.
Mr Barimah doubted if the rates of increase applied were those exactly advertised by the PURC. “Is the increment 59.2% or it is more than 59.2%? If it is 59.2% then this is more than that. That is why we need a clearer explanation lest we will hit the streets.”
He said the company had failed to provide the refund it had promised consumers from January 1-3 and was rather making deductions from credits purchased from customers.
But responding to the claims of the group, ECG’s PRO, William Boateng, said his organisation had not received any letter from the group. He, however, stated that the 59.2% increase announced by the PURC had been applied, and not the 70-80% speculated by Mr Barimah.
Mr Boateng said the prepaid metres had a monthly billing system beginning from the first day of every month, for which reason the increments, which took effect from the 14th of December, was not applied to prepaid consumers. He explained that the charge was retroactively applied upon recharge of credits, leading to credits running out quickly.
The ECG PRO explained that prepaid customers to whom the new rates had been erroneously applied between December 1 and 13 were receiving their refunds. The debited amounts, he said, were being restored upon recharge at the vending points.