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Electrical inspectors told to stop issuing certificates without checking installations

Participants at the training session on the use of the United States’ National Electrical Code (NEC). (GINA photo)

As Guyana joins the rest of the Caribbean in using an American electrical code, electricians and electrical inspectors were Monday warned against the issuance of electrical certificates without first inspecting the premises.

The warning was issued by Junior Minister of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson at the opening of a training session on the essentials of the United States’ National Electrical Code (NEC) which is being used across the Caribbean.

“We must not condone the practice of giving certificates to friends, hoping that he or she does the right thing. Yes, I am aware that certificates are issued for inspectnec tableions that are not done because the person asking is a friend and we trust him or her,” she said.

The Minister said the time has come for inspectors to hold themselves up to a higher standard in accordance with the NEC Code for inspecting and installing electrical conductors, signaling and communication equipment, and optical and fibre cables.

“We cannot allow that state of play to continue…We have to standardise our approaches… We must adhere to the one code that governs us all. The NEC is structured in such a way that it gives the requisite guidance for all aspects of our operations, whether we are contractors, engineers, lecturers, or instructors. We must hold each other’s feet to the fire of compliance, to ensure that other people don’t get burnt,” she said.

Ferguson stressed the importance of electrical safety in preventing fires of such origin like the one that reduced the Umana Yana to ashes last year. She hoped that the NEC Code would help reduce the number of electrical fires by at least 75 percent.

Chief Electrical Inspector, Roland Barclay told Demerara Waves Online News that the NEC is replacing the British International Electrical Engineers (IEE) to which Guyana had adhered for more than 60 years.

Barclay explained that Caribbean countries are using the NEC as the standard. “Most of our equipment- people bring them in from the USA and it is part of the NEC Code that we use listed materials and equipment,” he said.

Mr. Paul Dobrowsky of the US’ National Fire Prevention Association is conducting the training session that is being held from October 12 to 23, 2015.