Nigerians have been experiencing series of problems in the power sector, ranging from irregular supply, total denial of electricity and electrocution. To unravel reasons behind this anomaly, this medium approached Chief Ofodum who enumerated the reasons why the problems persists and marshaled out the way forward. For him, one of the problems is the continued use quacks in electricity works in Nigeria, insisting that only licensed electrical contractors should be engaged for such duties. According to him, “a situation whereby one accepts non-licensed electrical contractors should be stopped, because they are the major people that bring about issues we have in the industry”. He warned quacks not to dabble into areas they do not have good grasp of, the government to empower the National Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), in order to avoid such problems.
“We know that the government has a lot at hand and before expecting assistance from them, we need to play our own part justifiably. So I appeal to the government to fully back NEMSA to enable them do their part effectively, because it is the agency that is saddled with the responsibility of certifying our work.
“May be you don’t know that some of the electrical contractors are quacks and they are the ones who go about causing problems in the industry. If NEMSA is fully backed by government, it will enable them ensure that electricity works are done perfectly. For you to go into electricity contract, you must be perfect in the job and must be given certificate to that effect.
“We have license category ‘A’ in which the holder can do all electricity works; ‘B’ holder stops at industrial wiring. This means the holder shouldn’t exceed 11 KV line; ‘C’ holder stops at Low Tension (LT); while ‘D’ holder stops at house wiring. So with the exception of ‘A’ category, others have limitations and jurisdictions,” he explained.
On what the citizenry and government stands to benefit from LECAN he summed up the issues at quality electricity work. “For instance, a licensed contractor should be at his site all the time to supervise his workers. Due to the lapses, some clients used to hand over the work to the boys thinking that they know more than their contractor. In the process, he would put his personal assistant to represent him, and before you know what is happening, his assistant and the boys who do not know the difference between standard and fake materials would use the fake ones at a cheaper rate to the detriment of the client. I blame the government for giving electrical contract to novices. Until all these are stopped, we shall continue to be having problems in the industry.”
He however drew a clear difference between the role of an electrical engineer and that of electrician or technician in the field. According to his explanation, a Bachelor of Science holder in electrical engineering’s role in the industry lies on designing, while that of a technician lies on practical and execution of the work.
The national coordinator continued to warn seriously on the use of unqualified practitioners, saying: “Give your work to a licensed electrical contractor, because he is in the position to give you what you want as well as know the difference between fake and original electrical materials. You will find out that at times clients would prefer to give their work to quacks, without demanding for their certificate. The charges of a qualified professional may be higher than that of a quack, but in the long run, the client will see the difference. Every licensed electrical contractor has an address, office and is recognised by the government, unlike the quacks. The licensed electrical contract has a numbered certificate with which to trace him when the need arises, but it will not be easy to trace a quack.”
On the persistent epileptic electricity supply in the country, Ofodum noted that companies involved in the generation and distribution chain “usually put a marketer, meter reader or a management staff to the office of an engineer and make an engineer to be his assistant”, stressing that it will be easier for an engineer to be a marketer than a marketer to be an engineer.
On what his body did about this, he explained that he had petitioned to the president about the trend. Another factor that contributes to poor supply, according to him could be attributed to the dry season which affects the volume of water in the dams as well as the scarcity of gas which he linked to troubles in the Niger Delta.
The coordinator believed seriously that quality and adequate electricity supplies would go a long way to address problems associated with the economy. To that end, he advised: “Let the government go back to the drawing board, encourage indigenous engineers, instead of bringing in a foreigner we are not sure of his credibility. Electricity industry is not something you should be toying with”.
Though he however informed that LECAN had a monitoring team through which it has been fighting quackery in the industry, he equally regretted that the marketers-turned engineers and the consumers who like to cut corners usually encourage them. He therefore called for the urgent intervention of the government before the situation gets worse.
Source: The Authority
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