No certified electricians, no lights in homes by 2020 – Energy Commission
Beginning January 2020, consumers who fail to engage the services of certified electricians for internal wiring and other electrical works in their homes, offices and market places will not be connected to the national grid or have access to personal meters.
As it stands now, a consumer can choose to engage any electrician of their choice (whether certified or not) whenever they want electrical works done for them.
But speaking to The Mirror in Accra, the Programmes and Lead Officer for the Electrical Wiring Programme at the Energy Commission of Ghana, Mr Stephen N-ebe Yomoh, said the grace period given to non-compliant electricians to be registered with the commission for certification will elapse in December 2019 after which they would not be allowed to operate with the commission’s permission any longer.
According to Mr Yomoh, from January next year, any consumer who flouts the directive of the commission and goes ahead to employ the services of uncertified electrician to work on any facility would be compelled to use the services of certified ones and pay them both before having access to the Installation Completion Certificate (ICC) which would enable them to either be connected to the national grid or have their personal meters.
According to him, without that, it would be impossible “to have lights in your facility,” noting that the commission had only been lenient because it was waiting for the grace period to elapse before moving into full action.
“The Energy Commission regulates the distribution utilities and we have instructed that before they connect any facility to the national grid, the facility should be wired by a certified practitioner where the electrician would have used the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) Approved Electrical Cables and Accessories.”
“There is no way any consumer, who wants a personal meter, can get it because the ICC forms which are taken to ECG after the necessary inspections are only issued by the certified electricians under the supervision of the commission and power companies who only recognise that form as a prerequisite to get light to any facility,” he emphasised.
The reason behind new trend and regulation
Explaining the reason behind the directive, Mr Yomoh said the commission was going strictly by the Ghana Electrical Wiring Regulations 2011 (L.I. 2008) which was passed into law in 2012 as one of the responses to the spate of persistent electrical fires that occurred in the country.
The key objective of the Regulation is to ensure that only properly qualified and certified professionals engage in electrical wiring and installation works, to well-defined standards that will promote the safety of persons, property and livestock. Under the regulation, only Certified Electrical Wiring Professionals (CEWPs) qualified under the regulations, will be legally entitled to undertake indoor electrical wiring projects.
“We are doing this based on the law which was passed and to reduce or minimise fires since we realised that the uncertified ones usually engage in bad wiring which leads to fire outbreaks,” he said.
Number of certified electricians
Mr Yomoh noted that since 2014, when the grace period started, a total of 8,980 electricians had been certified so far across the country, noting that a lot were expected to be certified as many had been sensitised to the need to do so.
He said during that period, both the certified and the non-compliant were allowed to work hand-in-hand for the latter to be certified later. However, it appears many had taken advantage of the system and ran away from the certification.
“The uncertified ones are a lot out there, and are giving us a lot of problems and since they are not regulated, they are able to offer services at relatively low prices and do bad jobs even though the commission has set specific prices for each work done on any facility. Many of them use substandard materials for their works, and that is dangerous.
He, therefore, called on all non-compliant professionals to endeavour to register with the commission to be able to go through the process to be recognised, “because we will not countenance any illegality from 2020.”
We also entreat facility owners to engage compliant electricians to do professional jobs in order to resolve the fires in the homes and offices and also desist from illegal connections which were raping the nation of huge sums of money.
Meanwhile, statistics from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) indicate that electrical fires in general for the last two and half years have seen slight upward adjustment.
According to the Head of Public Relations at the GNFS, Divisional Officer Grade Two (DO II), Mr Ellis Robinson Okoe, in 2017, 619, electrical fires occurred, representing 36.9 per cent.
The following year, 2018, saw electrical fires moving up to 682, representing 40.6 per cent.
As of August 2019, fires caused by electrical wires was 378, which represented 22.5 per cent, an indication that it could inch up by the end of the year.
Getting access to a certified electrician
Before a consumer can have access to a certified electrician, they must either download a mobile app (Certified Electrician Mobile App) that has all the certified electricians in the country with their details or visit the website of the commission to have access to any of the electricians.
Besides, one can go to the Certified Electrical Wiring Professionals Association of Ghana (CEWPAG) which has offices in all the districts across the country.