By Rohey Jadama
The Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) on Saturday 6th December, 2014 at the Semega Janneh Hall in Tallinding organized the fourth consumer parliament.Consumer parliament according to organisers is an innovative public awareness and interaction session that aims at providing a forum for consumers to communicate with their service providers. It is also designed to put in place an impartial and effective consumer complaints resolution mechanism.
Delivering the welcoming remarks, the Acting Director General of PURA Ansuman Sanneh said the event presents another opportunity for the general public to come face to face with their service providers. This event, he added will help support PURA‘s efforts to collectively address consumer concerns and challenges affecting the regulated sectors.
For his part, the Chairman of the board of directors of PURA,Mr. Momodou O.S Badjie, noted that more often operating companies are not keen in providing adequate information about their products and services. Therefore, continued Mr. Badjie, in order to bridge this gap, and pursuant to their mandate to inform, educate and protect consumers, PURA through the consumer Affairs Directorate, devotes significant time and resources to consumer information and education and it is in this spirit that they created the consumer parliament which also compliments PURA’s 148 free consumer helpline number.
Musa Colley, a consumer and a resident of Bundung, said he has been a customer for more than 10 years, but that NAWEC is only supplying him with electricity for only one hour and that there are about 10 thousand inhabitants in his residential area.
Responding to the questions, the representative of NAWEC said they are embarking on a project and in 6 month’s time that problem would be solved.
“The Qcell network is very poor when you want to buy Qpower and sometimes the network of other GSM operators is poor”, said Alhagie Faye.
In response to the question, PURA’s expert said they are taking note of the said problem and it will be solved. Qcell’s representative said they are on an expansion drive this year and by mid 2015 all these problems would be solved.
Lamin Marong, another consumer who resides in Tallinding Medina, said candle is brighter than electric light in Tallinding. He complained of inadequate water facility and expensive bills.
“There is a problem but we are working towards addressing it”, said the NAWEC expert.
Fatou Njie of Churchill Town complained of high voltage, the on and off of current and added that she wants to know the cause of it. She also complained about megabytes of Gamcel which she said is too fast.
“I will take your number and investigate the cause of it”, said the Gamcel staff.
For his part, the NAWEC representative said the demand is more than the supply. He added if electricity is off in certain areas, others would be supplied in other settlements as well.
Amie Jatta of Ebotown complained of Africell deducting her credit when she did not credit them. According to her, she has been using the simcard for 10 years. She also complained that due to the on and off of NAWEC, her Television was spoilt. She also spoke about the problem of adequate water supply in her residence, pointing out that NAWEC should inform people if they are doing any maintenance. She also suggested that NAWEC should fix their pipes deep in the sand to avoid the vehicles from damaging them. In response, Africell said if you subscribe to the “Colareh” credit you should unsubcribe to avoid deducting your credit.
For NAWEC, they said sometimes their maintenance works are not planned, but that most of the time they do inform the general public when embarking on a maintenance exercise.
Commenting on the pipes, he said during the rainy season the sand is normally washed away and that is why the pipes are exposed.
By Rohey Jadama