The Senate has charged the 11 electricity distribution companies (DISCOs), to ensure strict compliance with laws that make it compulsory for meters brought into the country to be tested before they are deployed to consumers.
The Senate wants transformers and all electricity equipment to be deposited in the power sector to undergo compulsory certification tests to ensure compliance with standards.
The directives were given when the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy visited the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) on oversight in Abuja.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, observed that many Discos don’t subject their meters to certification by NEMSA, and charged the agency to ensure full compliance with the laws in this regard.
Abaribe observed that there were records of electrical cables, meters, transformers and other equipment in the electricity sector and pledged the support of the legislature to ensure the upgrade of NEMSA test stations to bring them at par with global standards.
He told newsmen: “What we are saying today is that there are gaps between what NEMSA is supposed to be doing and what the Discos are actually doing. From what we can see, it is actually because they are not seeing NEMSA as an enforcement agency that it actually is.
“The task that we are giving to NEMSA today is that they should use their law the way that it has been ratified and signed by the President of Nigeria, so that they would actually hold the Discos accountable for their deeds in the power sector.”
He pointed out that the law makes it compulsory that all electrical equipment to be used in the power sector must ensure certification from NEMSA before they are put to use.
“That is a very big task which we want NEMSA to enforce strictly,” the Senator said.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NEMSA, Peter Ewesor, stressed that the agency was upgrading its meter test stations to ensure that all meters to be used in Nigeria are subjected to integrity test and certified safe and of quality according to standards.
Ewesor spoke of his agency’s partnership with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to ensure technical enforcement in the sector, adding: “NEMSA is the technical partner with SON for standards in the power sector.”
He stressed further: “NEMSA has the duty of technical inspection, testing and certification of all categories of electrical installations, electricity meters and instruments and other materials. It is to ensure the efficient production and delivery of safe, reliable and sustainable electricity power supply and guarantee safety of lives and property in the Nigerian electricity supply industry and for other related matters.
“We want to ensure that only certified electrical installations practitioners are operating in the electrical contracting window. We have successfully re-modelled and upgraded the National Meter Test Station, Oshodi, to bring it back to international standard.”
He stressed that 3551 meters were tested in 2015, noting that 3,517 passed while 34 failed.
“Through the work of our test stations in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Lagos, we stopped over 47 out of specifications energy meters from being deployed and used in the nation’s network,” he explained.
He described Discos’ reluctance to effect NEMSA’s recommendations arising from monitoring of existing networks as a challenge.
He said further: “The importance of standardising, testing and certification and safety of lives and property in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized. Thus, the functions/activities and roles of NEMSA in the power industry and other work places is central for the growth and development of electricity industry and the Nigerian economy at large.
“Towards the end of the year 2015 and the greater part of 2016, the operators of the power industry and the Nigerian populace have begun to realise the benefits and importance of our services and appreciate importance of these activities such as the deployment of sub-standard materials, falsified power equipment, certification of electrical installation contractors, among others.”
On plans to upgrade of the Kaduna Meter Test Station, he stressed: “It is of utmost importance, because that is the one serving the entire North.
The upgrade is going to be for a period of three months. We want to complete it timely so that we step up our activities to take care of the volume of meters that we expect to be deployed in the sector in nearest future.
“Our operation limit is hindered, but by the time that we finish the project, the number of meters that we can test will increase. If we are testing 200 per day, it would increase to 500 per day. It means that the number of meters that will now go to the field will increase.”