Licensed electrical contractors say 75% of electrical materials in Nigeria are substandard

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Licensed electrical contractors accuse the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) of licensing unqualified persons

By Anthony Musa, Abuja

About 75% of electrical equipment in the country is fake and substandard, said the President of the Licensed Electrical Contractors Association of Nigeria (LECAN), Dr John Ekere Etim.

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Speaking in Abuja over the weekend, Dr Etim also accused the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (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 phone.It also affects the system.

Dr Etim denounced the complacency of regulatory agencies in ensuring compliance with the existing regulatory framework in the industry, adding that it was unfortunate that the distribution network had become a dumping ground for hazardous electrical installations due to 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 that unlike in the past where only licensed electrical contractors carried out 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 installation before it is connected to the national grid. But today, it’s not like that. NEMSA charges very exorbitant fees and this has now forced some contractors and DISCOs to collect money and link these sub-standard 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 even license people who are not qualified to get a license because they introduced what they called a “corporate license”. For business license, anyone can get a license whether you know 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 will buy substandard products because they want to maximize their profits. That’s why we still have problems. But these substandard materials pass through the seaports where we have customs.

“I don’t know the politics going on in the ports because the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) is supposed to be in the ports and other entry points. NAFDAC is also supposed to be at the entry point where these things happen. But we find that these people are no longer there because they were deleted. Only customs are now there in the ports. They are supposed to inspect, call SON to come and inspect. But you 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, has expressed reservations about the ability of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) to adequately discharge its mandate of monitoring electricity safety in the distribution network , as well as the overall efficiency of the Nigerian power supply industry, given the vast investment in the power sector.

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Patricia D. Rutt