NEMSA bans Discos, others from using substandard poles, kits

15 March 2016, Abuja –  The Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) has banned the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) and other electrical contractors from using substandard materials and equipment in their operations within the country’s electricity industry.

Power sector workers in Rwanda

Power sector workers

NEMSA also stopped the Discos and contractors from undertaking substandard and bad construction practices in the power industry and other allied industries and workplaces in the country.

It said that the decision was taken to guarantee the delivery of safe, stable and reliable power supply to Nigerians, adding that instance of electricity related accidents are beginning to increase in the country.

According to a memo which it sent to all the 11 Discos informing them of the ban, NEMSA’s Managing Director, Peter Ewesor said the ban was initiated because of identified hindrances to safe, stable and reliable power supply to Nigerians often caused by the use of substandard materials and equipment in the power systems and networks.

Ewesor who is also the chief electrical inspector of the federation stated that the agency took the decision on the strength of several reports submitted to its field officers across the country after the monitoring and evaluation of the Discos networks and power systems across the nation.

He said: “During the exercise, the indiscriminate use of substandard materials and equipment and bad construction practices in NESI by the electrical contractors and Discos alike were discovered.”

He thus warned the Discos and affected the electrical installation contractors against further use of the banned materials, as well as their substandard practices in the sector.

According to Ewesor, some of the substandard materials are untreated wooden poles often used by Discos and contractors, untreated wooden cross-arms, un-galvanised channel and angle irons, as well as un-galvanised and improper tie straps.

Also on the list of banned substandard electrical items is un-galvanized bolts and nuts. Ewesor noted that the Discos and contractors have mostly continued to use these substandard items, thus, disregarding extant safety guidelines.

He explained that the frequent failures of these substandard equipment and materials usually result in sudden collapse of distribution networks and systems which have often put lives and properties at risk.
Others according to him, include the Discos use of split conductors and cables resulting in sudden snapping of conductors and network collapses, use of undersize conductors and cables limiting electricity current carrying capacity and the use of fake or non-copper (aluminium) cables for indoor wiring and installations.

He also identified direct connection of up-riser copper conductor to overhead aluminium conductor instead of using bimetal line taps and use of extended cross-arms to raise or increase the height of electric concrete poles as some of the bad construction practices which have been condoned for long in the industry.

Similarly, the use of conductors with joints over expressway roads and river crossings has been prohibited by NEMSA, as well as feeder pillars not bolted down on plinths, exposed feeder pillars and use of pieces of conductors as fuses by the Discos.

NEMSA in the same vein signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Fire Service, to improve safety in use of electrical installations across the country.

Within the content of the memo, both federal agencies would be able to team up against such practices of petrol service stations and other high-risk operations, operating with requisite fire and electrical installation certificates from both of them.


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