Licensed Electrical Contractors Blame Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (Nemsa) for Licensing Unqualified Persons
By Anthony Musa, Abuja
About 75 percent of electrical materials in the country are fake and substandard, chairman of the Licensed Electrical Contractors Association of Nigeria (Lecan), Dr John Ekere Etim said.
Speaking in Abuja over the weekend, Dr Etim also accused the Electricity Management Services Agency in Nigeria (Nemsa) of issuing licenses to people who are not qualified to carry out power projects.
The President of the Licensed Electrical Contractors was reacting to the House of Representatives’ decision to investigate cases of deaths and accidents caused by neglect of electrical safety in the distribution network across the country.
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He also alleged that distribution companies in the country currently lack adequate technical staff, as many of the experienced people they inherited have been laid off, saying that “they now mainly use marketers. Someone you see today and tomorrow you see it on the line.It also affects the system.
Dr Etim decried the complacency of regulators in ensuring compliance with the existing regulatory framework in the industry, adding that it was unfortunate that the distribution network has become a dumping ground for unsafe electrical installation due to the negligence of Nemsa to ensure safety in the industry.
While calling for a paradigm shift in the industry to improve service delivery and ensure efficiency, he said unlike in the past when licensed electrical contractors did all installations in accordance with the electricity law, discos now prefer the use of quacks and casual workers.
He said “that’s why we have a lot of these accidents. They use inferior materials which are not good for the system and cause fire and electrocution and everything else in the industry.
“Nemsa is also to blame. Nemsa’s mandate is to provide security. They are supposed to inspect and test the facility before being connected to the national grid. But today, it’s not like that. Nemsa is in charge very exorbitantly and has made some entrepreneurs and discos simply collect money and link these substandard projects to the system.
“So you find out that most of the projects done in the communities don’t work and can’t stand the test of time. NEMSA is also at fault because they are even licensing licenses that are not qualified to be licensed because they introduced what they called “corporate licensing”. For business license, anyone can be licensed whether you know something about electricity or not. “
The Chairman of the Licensed Electrical Contractors also blamed the Federal Government for the influx of substandard electrical materials into the country, saying that the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), which is constitutionally charged with responsibility for certification of equipment entering the country, was barred from the seaport.
“You can see the problem we face in the industry. There are a lot of compromises. In electricity, if you use inferior materials, it will backfire and if you use quality materials, it will last. The same applies to all equipment.
“Nigerian traders who go abroad to buy materials are also part of the problem. Most of the electrical equipment they bring into the country is of poor quality. I can say that maybe 75% of the materials are fake and shoddy. Only 25% is of good quality, and the price of good quality products is very high.
“Some people buy standards because they want to maximize profits. That’s why we still have problems. But these inferior materials pass through the seaports where we have customs.
“I don’t know the politics going on at ports because Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) is supposed to be at ports and other entry points. NAFDAC is also supposed to be at the entry point where these things come through. But we find that these people are no longer there because they were abducted. It is only customs that are now there in the ports. They are supposed to inspect, call SON to come and inspect. But you will find a lot of shoddy materials coming into the country every time.”
He commended the decision of the Chamber to investigate the cases of deaths and accidents caused by the negligence of electrical safety in the distribution network across the country as well as the safety measures, including the existence and the role of the security departments of all distribution companies (DISCO).
Legislators during a debate on the motion on the “need to ensure security in the electricity distribution network”, sponsored by the Hon. Sani Bala, reservation expressed on the ability of Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (Nemsa) to adequately fulfill its mandate of policing electricity security in the distribution network, as well as the overall efficiency of the Nigeria’s electricity supply industry, given the immense investment in the power sector.