Following the dissolution of Consumer Watch Groups (CWGs) established by the Regulatory Alliance comprising the Communications Authority of Zambia (CAZ), Energy Regulation Board (ERB) and National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO), new CWGs which are solely managed by the ERB have been created. The rationale for establishing Watch Groups is to extend the regulatory arm of the ERB to the grass root level in various communities in the country. The concept under which CWGs are established was initiated by NWASCO – Water Watch Groups (WWG’s). WWG’s were mandated to represent the interests of consumers in water supply and sanitation. The regulatory alliance CWG’s mandate extended to water supply and sanitation, information communication technologies (ICTs) and energy. However, the new ERB managed CWG’s mandate will only cover energy issues.
In view of the above, the objectives of the CWGs are to ensure the following:
- Improved communication between consumers and service providers;
- Improved quality of services, particularly by speeding up the resolution of consumer complaints in line with the complaints procedures of ERB;
- Speedy resolution of consumer complaints;
- Creating awareness among consumers of their rights and responsibilities as well as the roles and functions of the service providers and the Regulator; and 2
- Giving sufficient feedback on public opinion to the Regulator. This information should be adequate to enable regulation meet the requirements of a given area. To aid the coordination process, these operational guidelines outline general procedures in managing the CWGs.