Electricians want Energy Commission to enforce laws

…as Contactum educates them on industry safety practices

Certified electricians believe that should the Energy Commission enforce the laws which govern their practice, the incidences of fire due to electrical faults will drastically reduce or be prevented.

“The Energy Commission has the power, under the law, to prosecute those working without certification. I believe the Commission must enforce the laws to the fullest, because sometimes work done is just not good enough and most of these people have no certification,” Obeng Addison, a certified electrician, told the B&FT.

Speaking at a Contactum Training Workshop for Electricians on industry standards for installation and best practices, Mr. Addison lauded the Commission for introducing the certification programme and sustaining awareness of the need to get all electricians certified.

“The Commission is doing a very good job in ensuring electricians get certified, and the awareness campaign is great. What we have to do is get everyone on-board to get certification, and then inspectors can make sure laws are enforced,” he added.

He added that some certified electricians have had their licences suspended for a while due to poor work, but he believes that more still needs to be done. “People have gone to meet the disciplinary committee of the Commission, but more needs to be done to rid the system of these unqualified and uncertified electricians,” he added.

The Energy Commission said since passage of the Electrical Wiring Regulations, 2012 (LI 2008), it is seeking to fully enforce the law – which states that offenders will be liable to a fine of 250 penalty units (equivalent to GH¢6,000) or two years’ imprisonment, or both.

At an award ceremony three year ago, the Commission stressed that electricians without certificates would be prevented from undertaking electrical wiring of buildings in the country.

Data from the Ghana National Fire Service show that from 2011 to 2016, over GH¢170million worth of property was damaged by fires throughout the ten regions of the country. The data show also that 131 lives were lost to fire outbreaks, while 547 others sustained various degrees of injuries.

Clients must request proof of certification

The electricians also urged homeowners, commercial business owners and industrial businesses to demand proof of certification before employing the services of electricians.

“The Energy Commission has also created a platform that is in the form of an application which allows everyone to confirm whether an electrician is certified before employing the services of the person. On the app is a column for clients to report electricians to the Commission,” Mr. Addison noted.

Victor Dzoko, another electrician, advised clients to listen to electricians because safety cannot be valued. “Clients usually force electricians to cut corners, but this isn’t right. Electricians should be allowed to do their work without interference from clients,” he added.

The training workshop

The Cantactum training workshop saw more than 50 electricians taken through how to install the latest edition of consumer units and safety devices, and introduced to Contactum, Dorman Smith and Doncaster cable products and fire prevention devices.

Olivier Kiese, Contactum Marketing Manager for Africa, explained that electricians in Ghana hardly prioritise safety when they are finishing installations in homes, offices, commercial or industrial facilities. “We are here to train them on the 17th edition regulation, whereby they can fit our safety devices in every home and then they can be approved to install our products,” he said.

As a qualified trainer of the 17th edition consumer unit or Residual Current Device (RCD), which is a fuse-board that seeks to protect homes from electric shocks, Mr. Kiese noted that these electricians are now well-versed in the installation of safety devices.

Martin Flack, Contactum Export Manager for Africa, also explained that by fitting any of these safety devices when a home’s wiring is not done right or up to standard, the lights or other gadgets will not even come on.

“For safety devices to work, they have to be installed correctly. If there is a problem somewhere on the circuit, it doesn’t even switch on. When it detects a problem, it switches everything off until the problem is solved,” he noted.

Mr. Kiese added that Contactum will also be approving and certifying the electricians to install its products.