Recently, the federal government stated that it will not hesitate to prosecute defaulters and non-compliant power and electrical contractors not genuinely certified by the Nigerian Electricity Manage-ment Services Agency (NEMSA). The government said it is now ready to strengthen the enforcement of its laws for proper regulatory services to improve power supply.
Indeed in Nigeria, there are many uncertified persons parading as power and electrical contractors, using sub-standard materials to wire residential, offices as well as commercial complexes.
In the past, this has resulted to fire outbreaks leading to loss of lives and properties.
The managing director of Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency and Chief Electrical Inspector of the Federation, Engineer Peter Ewesormade while chatting with the media recently, reeled out new guidelines and regulations directed at ensuring that local and foreign contractors in the electricity industry must be competent to deliver in line with specifications and standards.
He said, the agency shall continue to enforce technical standards and regulations to sustain and main-tain specifications of electric and construction guidelines.
He said that government is ready to launch new guidelines for mini-grid electricity being developed by its development partners through a support programme.
According to him, “The federal government shall not hesitate to prosecute and punish offenders and defaulters refusing to comply strictly with the guidelines and regulations, not minding the status and who is involved, especially at this point when major and indeed all players in the industry are moni-tored closely to ensure efficiency and capability to deliver.”
To play out fully on electricity technical control, the agency said it shall consistently organise seminars and conferences of stakeholders and the general public to sensitise and create awareness on the poli-cy trust and guidelines of the power sector reforms with specific attention to the operations of NEM-SA.
However, Certification in the power sector is a global trend, taking into account the fact that the exe-cution of electricity projects, which includes installations, wiring etc, are highly technical and requires competence in the sector, so as to eliminate all forms of barriers created by quacks in the industry.
Ewesormade said, no contractor would be allowed to carry out electrical installation without being cer-tified by the agency, saying the process of screening is conducted by the board of the agency com-posed of members with high technical capacity, though membership is drawn from across the public service including technocrats.
According to him, Nigerians are fully aware of the fact that, only qualified and certified contractors should be engaged in the services of installations and wiring of both residential and office buildings.
He stressed that contractors are divided into four major categories which of course require certain cri-teria to qualify to be admitted into each of the categories outlined.
NEMSA is empowered by the provisions of the law to ensure efficient protection of electrical installa-tions, ensure safety, certification of equipment, conducting test to confirm the standard of equip-ment, before acceptability within the sector.
Ironically, the power sector reforms have suffered huge setbacks before the coming of this admin-istration, this prompted the present government to look into the activities and operations of the sec-tor in the previous administration, with a view to engage the services of competent and technical ex-pertise to generate, transmit and distribute the amount of electricity that can be near adequate for consumers.
The result of this reforms among sectorial agencies of government involved in the network of the supply of electricity to consumers is the over 5, 000 megawatts that is currently being distributed for the very first time in the history of the country, where only about 3, 700 megawatts were distributed.
This success however, can be said to be marginal as the country is said to be near adequate when it generates, transmit and distribute about 25, 000 megawatts, considering the huge population of the country. This is also true if industrialization and manufacturing must be encouraged and sustained to meet the demands of the consumers.
There is high demand for the supply of electricity in Nigeria more than any other African country, where most of the people are technicians, artisans and small machinery utilization firms scattered all around the country. Most of this machinery like grinding machine, motor spare parts and other power utilization technical processes require regular and steady supply of electricity.
Statistics shows that there are over 3 million of these micro-industries in automobile alone across the country, needing steady supply of electricity, and at the moment the only means of power available to the processing micro-industries is the use of generator, which has resulted to spending more money in the purchase of diesel and petrol, thereby increasing the cost of production, which has a correspond-ing increase in the cost of goods and services.
It has therefore, become economically, socially and politically expedient to boost generation, trans-mission and distribution of electricity, to catch up with desired increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), other economic indices and parameters that are determinant factors for growth and sustained surplus.
The federal government in collaboration with the state government must invest heavily on electricity to address the challenges of low productivity in our industries; it has affected capacity utilization, hav-ing negative economic indices in all sectors of our national economy over the decades.
Unfortunately, the state governments have demonstrated lack of interest and focus in the setting up and developing independent power plants that can contribute to stability in the supply of electricity.
The states have always relied on its ‘big brother’, the federal government to spoon-feed it, thereby inflicting heavy yoke and burden
on the national economy.