NEMSA intensifies efforts to reduce electricity accidents


*A typical shanty in India built under high tension electricity wires.

*A typical shanty in India built under high tension electricity wires.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

05 February 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja — The Managing Director of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency, NEMSA, Mr. Peter Ewesor, has ordered Nigerians living under high tension wires to vacate, as part of its efforts toward reducing or possibly eliminating electrical accidents in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI.

He also urged electricity distribution companies, DISCOs, not to compromise on safety standards laid down for the installation of power equipment with a view to prevent electrical accidents.

The agency had announced earlier in the year that it would outlaw the use of wooden electric poles for installations in the power sector this year, adding that before the end of the first quarter (Q1) 2016, it will make public pronouncements directing all DISCOs to discontinue the use of wooden poles for installations in their various networks.

Ewesor, who stated this in Abuja, emphasised that there are no quality wooden pole manufacturing company in Nigeria. He stressed that the use of fake or substandard materials would no longer be tolerated in the electricity industry.

Ewesor, speaking in Ibadan recently, as part of a national monitoring tour of power installations in the country, ordered residents who built structures under tension wires to relocate immediately and avoid the risk of being electrocuted.

According to him, such areas of concern under the Ibadan DISCO where residents had built such structures include Tomavide, Ifesowapo/Academy, Ring Road, Podo/Odo-Ona Kekere, and Apete areas, as well as the interchange, around the toll gate end of Lagos/Ibadan expressway, where trailer parks and restaurant are operated under the high tension cables.

The NEMSA boss explained that it is sheer ignorance and flagrant disregard for the town planning rules and regulations for people to erect structures and undertake businesses under 33/KVA and 11/KVA transmission lines, even as he directed the Ibadan DISCO to act urgently to avert the inherent danger associated with high voltage power installations.

“We are directing the Ibadan DISCO to use the recommendations and observations of this exercise as a guide for all other areas because the networks and incidents are similar. We are saying that situation which is life-threatening should be corrected without further delay,” he said.

While directing the Zonal Inspectorate of the NEMSA in charge of Oyo and Osun states to apply necessary sanctions on the erring electrical contractors as well as educate members of the public on the consequences of incorrect wire connections, Ewesor urged the management of the

DISCOs not to compromise on safety standards laid down for the installation of power equipment.
During the inspection, he also ordered the closure of electric poles manufacturing companies operating without licence from the agency. Such poles, he said, do not meet the requirement of water testing, alkality of the soil, or quantity of cement, and could therefore, collapse suddenly and pose serious risks to Nigerians.

To this end, the NEMSA’s electrical inspector in charge of Oyo and Osun states, Tajudeen Alabi, stated that all electric pole manufacturing companies in the franchise would be inspected to ascertain their operational capabilities. He added that efforts would also be intensified to stop people under his area of supervision from building structures or carry out commercial activities under the high voltage wires.

The agency has carried out similar monitoring tours in and around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which similarly led to the closure of three electric pole manufacturing companies over substandard products and directives to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) to ensure right and proper installation of power cables and equipment.

Meanwhile, the NEMSA’s executive director, Technical Services, Tukur Gidado, has called on distribution companies to ensure that safety precautions are duly observed by the licenced electrical contractors working within their operational areas, even as he gave an assurance that monitoring and inspection would be a continuous exercise.

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