Nigeria’s power sector recorded its worst monthly electrocution record in April 2017, when it reported 17 deaths across the country, the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) has said.
NEMSA disclosed in its monthly safety report and ranking of the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) which it presented to operators at their last monthly meeting in Jos, that the accidents involved staff of operators and third parties.
The agency explained that these accidents occurred on the back of failures of system protection equipment, poor response to monitored networks and use of substandard materials, and non-adherence to safety rules and regulations.
It also identified the total absence of protection devices and inadequate knowledge and ignorance on the part of operators and consumers as some of the causes of the accidents.
According to NEMSA, Abuja; Ibadan; Kano; Port Harcourt; Enugu; and Jos Discos accounted for eight of the accidents, which resulted to 17 deaths within the period under review.
The Discos, it stated also recorded major injuries with Port Harcourt, leading in this, and subsequently ranking as the worst performing operator.
NEMSA also explained that between January and April, the sector recorded as much as 34 electrocutions, adding that Eko; Ikeja Discos and TCN recorded zero occurrences so far. It said it observed a prevalent practice where the Discos connected unsafe structures; buildings; and premises to collect revenue from them.
It equally noted that all illegal structures under power lines or within right of way should first be disconnected from public power supply, followed with demolition nationwide.
In a related development, the Market Operations (MO) department of the TCN has decried the continued disregard of existing rules guiding the operations of the market by its participants.
To this end, the MO stated at a meeting in Abuja that it would begin to clampdown on operators who continue to neglect the market rules in their relationships with the market.
MO’s Executive Director, Moshood Saleeman, stated this at a recent retreat to bring operators in the power market up to date with the operations of the market and their responsibilities to ensure efficiency in the entire value chain.
“With over three years into privatised electricity market in Nigeria with over two years of operating the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM), liquidity and infrastructure challenges are still holding the market from growing to its potential,” said Saleeman.
“Lots of blame games are being traded in the market today, but blames do not solve problems. What will solve the problems is our collective ability to take the necessary and appropriate actions within the various areas of our responsibilities. So, our call today is that blame game should stop while appropriate actions should start.
“We all have the responsibility of building an efficient and sustainable electricity market. Efficient electricity markets work to the benefit of all – government, investors and end-users. All stakeholders in the market have lots to do in facilitating sustainable growth and efficiency of the market; therefore, we all need to do the needful,” Saleeman explained.
He noted that, “Liquidity is the key in an electricity market. However, as operators and participants in the market, we all know that more needs to be done.
“We need more power generation; we need more transmission capacity; we need more distribution capacity; we need good balancing of demand and supply – balancing market; we need econometric approach as the variables of the economy are exogenous,” he said.
“Also critical for success of the market and the entire industry are issues of transparency and compliance with relevant rules and codes in the market. The rules and codes are areas of our defaults. We are calling on all stakeholders to uphold these rules and codes for the overall success of the industry. Henceforth, MO will enforce the rules and penalise defaulters,” added Saleeman.