REVERSING THE ELECTRICITY INFRASTRUCTURE DEFICIT

The ongoing power sector reforms will end power outages, writes Ofem Uket

The Managing Director of Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), Mr Peter Ewesor has said the ongoing power sector reforms to standardize power equipment to boost power supply will end the incessant power outages and restore regular supply of electricity to consumers in the country.

Speaking at a conference of certified engineers, The Nigerian Society of Engineers Ikeja Branch, Lagos state, the chief electrical officer of the Federation disclosed that some of the electrical equipment currently being used were installed 20 years back, saying the ongoing power sector reforms is addressing holistically the standardization of power equipment to restore steady supply.

He warned that excess load on the 33kv line will lead to the total collapse of the system, since it was meant to transmit power to sub-injection stations, recommending a feeder unit to be provided if consumers especially manufacturing industries must be connected to the 33 kv line, which is a conveyor of power to injection stations.

He said standard network practice, design and operations must be adhered to in the practice of electrical engineering, especially as it concerns the national grid, which if allowed to collapse will lead to a total black out in the country.

Ewesor lamented the lack of cohesion amongst major actors in the industry, which allows uncertified contractors and engineers to infiltrate the power sector, and introduced sub-standard works that cause havoc and fire outbreak that leads to destruction of lives and property. On metering, he said, the federal government is currently distributing one million meters to electricity consumers across the country, while about four million meters are yet to be delivered for distribution, under the National Mass Metering Proramme, and the meter asset provider regulation to address short supply of power.

He disclosed that about three indigenous electrical companies assemble meters in Nigeria; some of the companies are doing knock down assembly, while some are doing semi knock down. “We approved licenses for knock down and semi knock down, until the companies demonstrate capacity to commence full blown manufacturing we cannot certify them to manufacture’, she said. Our responsibility as contained in the act that established NEMSA, is to certify power equipment and engineers handling power projects, because sub-standard equipment and incompetence in the handling of electrical projects has always been the major challenge in the power sector, especially in Nigeria where nobody wants to do the right thing’.

On inter-agency and international collaboration, NEMSA had in March this year secured accreditation from the Nigeria National Accreditation System (NiNAS) established to provide accreditation for Conformity Assessment Bodies with traceability to international standards.

Recently, the Federal Executive Council approved the Nigeria National Quality Policy. Among other requirements of this policy, Conformity Assessment bodies are required to secure accreditation in relevant standards related to their services, processes and operations.

Nigerian Electricity Management Services management as part of their commitment to quality services to her customers, therefore obtained accreditation to relevant standards related to its mandate.

In other to provide a solid framework and consolidate on the inter-agency cooperation NEMSA and NiNAS, both entered into a Memorandum of Understanding which focuses on training and accreditation among other services. This MOU is quite remarkable and unique because NiNAS through trainings and services will provide the needed support and facilitate processes that will enhance institutional systems improvement, compliance to international best practices, and global recognition that will ensure the efficient production, delivery of safe, reliable and sustainable electricity power supply and guarantee safety of lives and property in Nigerian.

It accredited NEMSA in four standards namely ISO 17025, ISO 17020, ISO 17024, and ISO 17065, making history for being the first agency of the government to submit all her processes to international accreditation, in furtherance of the requirements of the new government policy.

On the same note, the incumbent government of President Muhammadu Buhari says it has invested N1.5 trillion as part of its interventions in the power sector through the Central Bank of Nigeria in the two years to June 2021. According to government, the aim is to increase generation to 11,000MW by 2022 and 25,000MW by 2025 in partnership with Siemens. If so, the regime has a lot on its plate. Idle power is one of them. Represented by the West African Power Pool, Niger, Togo, Benin, and Burkina Faso have expressed their interest to buy unutilized power off Nigeria. That is a paradox since Nigeria has an acute electricity deficit.

However, the ongoing power sector reforms, especially the re-visiting of refurbishing and upgrading electricity and power infrastructure by NEMSA, enjoying the cooperation of stakeholders and all Nigerians will lay to rest some of the electricity supply challenges besetting the country for many decades now.

Again, the Chief Electrical Officer of the Federation has called on actors in the industry to comply with regulations and guide lines, saying the agency will at all-time carry out enforcements that will bring erring players to submission, especially at this critical point of revamping the sector after setbacks caused by incompetence and sub-standard materials.

He clearly noted that the sector is on the part of growth in the present circumstance in-spite of the enormous challenges across its sectorial reforms, saying all regulatory and technical agencies in the power sector are working together right now to fix power and deliver same to consumers in rural and urban areas.

Ewesor, who is an author of two electrical and technical books, disclosed that his collections can be found in the library of some Nigerian Universities to expose students in the faculty to the practicality of electrical services globally. He said that NEMSA has laid a solid foundation for more and improved competence to carry out its mandate, haven’t trained and built the capacity of electrical engineers that would continue to maintain the standard that has been set to sustain efficient power sector reforms

33KV BAN: THE REGULATOR (NERC), TECHNICAL ENFORCER (NEMSA), TCN AND DISCOS.

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