Safety and reliability in the transmission and distribution energy sector in Africa

The twin challenge of safety and reliability in the transmission and distribution energy sector has been on the front burner in the electricity industry in Africa over the past two decades.

Two out of every three individual within the continent lacks access to clean and cheap energy. In this article we shall be looking critically at these two areas and the challenges they pose to the energy industry in Africa.

Lots of lives have been lost as a result of lack of safety awareness in both the transmission and distribution energy sector. We are talking specifically about dealing with voltage range of 415V- 330KV.

At this voltage range, failure to adhere strictly to safety rules and regulations can spell doom for the defaulting personnel. The downtime and outages created as a result of such safety breach can be avoided if the right safety measures are put in place.

The use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a must for every worker within the electricity industry, especially those covering the transmission and distribution energy sector. Hard hat, hand glove, ear muff and specially made coverall must be provided and used always.

Getting the right permit to work on a defective item and ensuring the safety of equipment and workmen is a priority safety issue within the energy industry, especially when working with High Voltage (HV) equipment like power transformers, Circuit breakers, isolators and generators.

Reliability can be defined as the degree to which the result of a measurement can be depended upon for accuracy. A higher reliability index means a more accurate measurement over time. It must be emphasized at this junction that achieving a high reliability index will ultimately increase longevity across both the transmission and distribution energy sector thus providing sustainability.

By incorporating reliability factor into all segment of decision making along the transmission and distribution supply chain network, safety will not only be enhanced, but a huge profit margin will be guaranteed alongside sustainability of energy infrastructure.

In summary, when the twin issue of reliability and safety are properly tackled, it will culminate in the achievement of a high reliability index that meets international safety standards, longevity within and without all energy networks is guaranteed with the added incentive of energy security for future generation.

In Africa, more than 4000MW are lost yearly as a result of safety related incidents which could have been avoided with proper implementation and a strict adherence to standard reliability index in the workplace.

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Program Coordinator, Nigeria