With the growing spate of electrocution incidents in the country, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has declared a zero-tolerance policy for accidents within the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) operational network.
Dafe Akpeneye, NERC Commissioner, Legal, Licencing & Compliance made this known during the second peer review meeting with Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) Licensees’ enforcement and compliance officers, on Monday, in Lagos.
In a statement expressing NERC’s dedication to ensuring safety and preventing accidents within the electricity sector, Akpeneye stated that every life is valuable.
According to him, a lot of electricity-related accidents and safety hazards that have been recorded in recent times, are avoidable.
He emphasised that the market operators must report accidents related to vandalism to NERC.
He said, “As a Commission, we have taken a zero-tolerance approach, we want accidents to stop because every life matters to us.”
“Sometimes, compensation for accident victims’ costs more than what it will cost to rectify the problem.
Akpeneye therefore charged the licensees to overhaul their institutional culture towards safety and avoidance of accidents, which he said is fundamental to the safety of workers and people around network areas.
The NERC’s Commissioner further said, “There can’t be attitudinal change without effort, we need an overhaul of our institutional culture because no matter what frameworks or strategies we put in place, if the culture does not change, nothing will change.”
Olaware Aro, North South Power Company Ltd, Shiroro commended the Commission for the swift response, investigations, and actions on accident cases.
According to him, the prompt enforcement by NERC is forcing NESI licensees to sit up.
He further noted that the accident penalties being enforced by NERC have provided the licensees with no other option but to be proactive.
Chizim Owhor, a representative of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), suggested a comprehensive safety campaign across Nigeria’s electricity sector.
Owhor emphasized the necessity for broader stakeholder involvement and a more extensive platform for discussing the transmission and distribution Right of Way (RoW).
NERC’s Engineering and Performance Monitoring (EPM) Division during the session presented a scorecard on compliance with technical obligations, Health, Safety and Environment standards, capturing health and safety incidents from Q1-Q3 of 2023.
The EPM charged NESI licensees to improve on network standardization and public safety.
EPM also recommended preventive maintenance plans, provision of adequate/ appropriate working tools and personal protective equipment as well as vegetation control by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to significantly reduce safety hazards.
On Tuesday, Day two of the peer review, representatives of Licensees present at the meeting developed a compliance plan and implementation strategy for 2024.
The participants developed Compliance Objectives of licensees, which included ensuring timely compliance to prevent Rectification Directives and Notices of Intent to Commence Enforcement, Achieving Zero fatalities, staff enlightenment on NERC regulations and obligations, and setting up internal enforcement protocols.