Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) has urged the public to adhere to regulations governing electrical installations in building, in an effort to avert accidents that arise from poor works.
The accidents, which have at times led to fatalities and loss of property, have largely been attributed to poor or substandard electrical installations caused by using unqualified people to carry out the installation works.
Speaking to The New Times about the measures that are being taken to curb the electrical accidents, the General Manager for Energy, Water and Sanitation Regulation, Mr Alexis Mutware noted that they have been urging builders to use licensed electricians.
“This regulation has been there since October 2012 but its implementation began in 2015 and the main aim is to protect people,infrastructure and the environment against hazards that may arise due to poor electrical installations,” he stated.
Under this regulation, Mr. Mutware notes that electrical installations works are restricted to competent and authorized practitioners licensed by RURA so as to ensure that all personnel that are to carry out tasks relating to installations, maintenance, repairs and modification of installations are conversant with the works to carry out.
“Many people just get cables and install electricity in a building just because they have seen it being done somewhere else and once lights are on, they think everything is okay and this is why we are having many cases of fire burning down people’s homes and businesses,” he said.
It is against this background that he appealed to electricians to apply for their appropriate permits.
He however noted that before one is given a permit, they have to undergo a practical interview which will be based on for them to be issued permits.
The permits, he said, vary in categories.
Among the different types of permits issued is Class A for residential buildings, B for complex buildings, C for medium voltage, D for special installations such as generators, switch gears, cooling systems.
He said that despite this however, only 80 permits have been issued to electricians so far.
In a bid to see to it that many electricians are issued with permits that allow them to carry out electrical installations in buildings, exams are held quarterly and once one has passed, they immediately get their permit after paying the required fee.
“Quarterly exams are held but not so many people pass and this is a good thing because it shows them that they are not good enough and an indicator for them to go sharpen/upgrade their skills,” he said.
Among some of the advantages that come with the implementation of this regulation, Mutware noted that licensed electricians take full responsibility for any fire outbreak or damage arising from poor installation.
He said that this will be made easy because of the availability of the electricians’ records, adding that there are serious penalties for those that are found at fault, ranging from fines and revocation of license depending on the severity of the damage.
Similarly, the list of all the qualified electricians, as well as their telephone numbers, are on the RURA website and Mutware appeals to all people that need services of an electrician to hire or contract persons or companies with possession of a valid permit on the list published on RURA’s website to ensure safety of their premises.
“We have all the details of the 80 certified electricians and in case something goes wrong, we shall easily track them down and penalize them depending on the degree of the damage caused,” he said.