Chineme Okafor in Abuja
To cut down or if possible, end the incidences of deaths from grid electricity-related accidents within its network areas which it said was about 101 in the last five years, the Abuja electricity distribution company (Disco) has disclosed that a whooping N2.5 billion had been invested on safety measures within its network since 2013.
The investment, it explained was used to reconstruct some shanty networks in communities like Kabusa and Gisiri which are under its coverage, as well as procure safety gears and equipment used by its staff during operations.
It also stated that parts of the money was invested in an ongoing mass education of its customers on safe use of electricity, adding that the exercise has seen it go from schools, to villages and other places where electricity end users are often urged to observe safety in their interface with electricity.
Speaking at a recent meeting in Abuja where the Disco accepted the responsibility to host an upcoming electricity safety summit – the 2018 National Power Safety Summit, its Managing Director, Mr. Ernest Mupwaya, indicated the investment was undertaken because the Discos could not reconcile with the idea that its product would be a source of death to its customers.
Mupwaya, explained the Disco has raised its commitment to safety since it took over from the government in 2013, adding that its workers are equally made to go through a change of mind-set about safety.
“The concept of safety presupposes the desire to ensure that both the service provider and the user of the product should benefit maximally from the product. However, human beings either for lack of knowledge or complacency and carelessness find themselves constantly compromising safety standards unfortunately to their detriment.
“Since we took over the ownership and management of the company on October 31, 2013, we have carefully and deliberately raised the level of awareness and changed the mind-set of the workers of the company in the area of Health, Safety and Environment.
“We have made the observance of safety rules mandatory. In this regards, we have invested close to N2.5 billion over five years in the provision of personal safety gears, safety equipment, total reconstruction of some shanty networks such as Kabusa and Gisiri that we inherited from the defunct PHCN,” said Mupwaya.
Continuing, he noted: “We have also invested in the massive education of the customers going from school to school, village to village, knowing that when knowledge is shared, abuse and accidents are also reduced and more customers become loyal to the company.”
According to him, the Disco had recorded about 101 electricity related fatalities in its network since 2013. These he noted included nine of its staff.
He thus decried the development, stating that while some were directly linked to its failure, most were as a result of end-users misuse of electricity or tampering of power facilities.
“Electricity is such a good servant but a terribly bad master that only listens to explanation after punishing but that is if the victim survives,” Mupwaya, stated.
He said the Disco accepted to host the safety summit because it wanted to amplify the need for stakeholders in Nigeria’s electricity industry to consistently observe safe use of electricity.