This past weekend saw many stakeholders of the Nigerian power sector visit Uyo to discuss safety in the power sector.
At first glance. You would imagine that safety was the sole responsibility of the operators (distributors and generators and of course NERC) but the discussions arising from this summit shows that everyone is involved and should be responsible. A video highlighting varying incidents caused by electricity shows anyone can be a victim. Cutting corners to achieve success. The electricity they say is dangerous and deserves respect.
There were several panel discussions both days. Each handling important topics and suggesting better ways to improve the power sector. The theme of this year’s NPSS was Reducing The Alarming Trends In Staff and Public Fatality In The Nigerian Power Sector.
The timing couldn’t be more apt seeing the accidents in Calabar that happened between April and October 2017. All which could have been prevented in the first place. It would have been easy to throw blames but one thing this summit shows is that everyone takes a swing at the blame board.
From the different discussions, one can deduce that a lot needs to be set in place and only when all stakeholders work together can this happen. Less of the backbiting and more proactive measure needs to be put in place. It is not just enough to make policies but effective measures have to be set in place to ensure implementation.
Engr Mattew Edevbie MD 4 power Consortium in his welcome address lists the following as the expectations of the 2017 NPS summit
- Improving policies in the sector that permits safe operation of the network.
- Reviewing engineering equipment and construction standards.
- Addressing the poor standardization of equipment suppliers.
- Instigating a change in the mindset of the masses towards the power sector operators especially the distribution and transmission companies.
- To set in place a legislation that would address vandalism which contributes to a huge percentage of accidents in the power sector.
You would agree that these are key issues that if addressed properly would do a lot of good. Regulatory compliance, Vandalism and Electricity theft, Incident management, Synergising right of way policies were key and controversial discussions that proved to be thought-provoking.
These discussions should be accessible to the general public as it affects them too. So one would expect every disco to be properly represented. Not just one or two persons that may file a report and submit never to be looked at again. It was even sad that some DisCos were absent. Who then would educate the consumers. While the Gencos and Discos have their work cut out for them to improve or install protection layers, replace faulty infrastructure and strategize on better safey measures and crisis management procedures.
There was a heavy presence of the press at this summit but sadly, they haven’t felt the urge to report news about key issues of the summit but rather picking a quote from someone and creating a story around it.
We should all do better and be involved. Everyone including operators and regulators should be more proactive than reactive.