By Mary Makhiringa:
Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) has warned that the regulatory authority will deal with all unregistered electricians in the country.
MERA’s Consumer and Public Relations Manager, Fitina Khonje, sounded the warning on Wednesday amid revelations that a lot of electricians in the country do not have the required permit from the governing body.
She described the situation as a threat to the consumers’ life.
Khonje sounded the warning during a sensitisation meeting with local electricians in Balaka where she disclosed that over 70 per cent of the electricians in the country do not have licenses permitting them to work.
“The challenge is that because of this, a lot of electricians are doing substandard work which, in turn, places the consumers’ lives and property at risk and also violets the rights of the consumer as well as the law.
“We are urging everyone doing electrical installation to go through MERA and be certified; we have windows that are open almost at every quarter so that people can apply for the permit by doing interviews which are based on general knowledge of electrical installation,” she said.
Khonje further said MERA will work hand in hand with Malawi Police Service (MPS) in making sure that all electricians abide by the law.
“Let me also urge consumers to always work only with installers that are registered so that they are assured of quality work and materials. On top of that, they will be assured of MERA’s intervention in case of complaints,” she said.
The MERA PRO added that registering with her institution places an electrician at an advantage as she or he is able to compete for bids whenever they are tendered either by government or other institutions.
On his part, Director of Utatu Electrical Contractors and also the Secretary for Eastern Region Electrical Contractors of Malawi, Benedictor Pensulo, said the meeting had come at the right time when local electricians in the region were given a chance to apply for licensing.
“In Balaka, we are over 80 electricians but only three are registered; let me say my company is among the three registered.
“With this sensitisation, we have been warned and given the chance to register with MERA so that we practice electrical installation with the required papers,” Pensulo said.
According to Pensulo, a lot of electricians shun examinations by MERA for fear of paying tax as well as not having required qualifications.
Electricity by-laws of 2012 stipulate that only those that have licenses from MERA are allowed to operate in the country.
Once unregistered electrician has been caught practicing, he or she can be fined up to K500, 000 and stay in prison for six months depending on the number of offenses one has been charged with.