Rights and Obligations
The Commission’s authority to treat with complaints against service providers is derived both from its parent legislation, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) Act, 2016 and the Electricity Act, 2016. Section 17 (1) (b) & (c) of the PURC Act states as follows, the Commission shall: (b) “determine complaints made by consumers against public utilities to which this Act applies in accordance with section 29 and applicable enactments;” (c) “hear and resolve any dispute that may arise between parties governed by an enactment regulating the supply of services by a public utility, as may be provided by the enactment, and in accordance the procedure under this part.” Section 4 (e) of the Electricity Act, 2016 also empowers the Commission to, “hear and resolve complaints against a network licensee through efficient and timely proceedings.”
The PURC Act also recognizes the right of individuals to make complaints against rates. Section 18 states as follows: 1) “Any person who is a consumer of services provided by a public utility subject to this Act may make a complaint to the Commission against the rate payable or to be payable for the services, and to that extent against the quality of the services, provided by the public utility on the ground that, subject to section 21 (2), the rate so payable is unfair or unreasonable or contrary to law.” 2) “Every complaint under subsection (1) shall be in writing and may be made by the complainant in person, or by his or her legal counsel or by any person authorized by him or her in writing in that behalf.” 3) “Particulars of the ground or grounds upon which the complaint is made shall be supplied therewith in the prescribed form.”
The Commission is expected to receive and investigate complaints brought by members of the public against regulated service providers and to resolve these complaints. However, customers should have made reasonable efforts in good faith to resolve the issue with the service provider and only if dissatisfied with the service provider’s response should turn to the Commission for assistance.
The query/complaint will be logged by the CAO in the Commission’s electronic database
set-up for that purpose to permit easy access in order to prepare any required reports.
The following information must be recorded:
• Full Name of Complainant;
• Account Number;
• Contact Telephone Number;
• Method used to contact the Commission i.e. phone, email, visit, letter;
• Date query/complaint was lodged;
• Category of query/complaint;
• Service provider/licensee involved;
• Name of person receiving the query/complaint.