At a time cases of electrical fires are on the rise, the 300-member Electrical Contractors Association of Malawi (Elcam) has warned building contractors against buying and using sub-standard electrical materials.
The group said most of the electrical wiring materials found on the local market, are not certified by the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) as the country’s quality control board, a development which results in buildings catching fire affecting companies’ or individuals construction budgets.
Elcam vice-president Mark Gadama told Business Review on Monday that electrical consulting engineers recommend that electrical materials should have specifications, which will avoid hazardous occurrence to human beings and property.
“We want to assure the nation that the standard materials are being manufactured locally such as standard wires approved by MBS and Escom [Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi]. But the sad news is, other manufacturers are counterfeiting other companies’ of labels,” he said.
Gadama said in electrical works, safety should be a priority, stressing that good wiring does not cause fire, because a fault develops first which must trip off main switches or circuit breakers.
He said the grouping has the capacity to assist people regarding questions they may have pertaining to electrical installation works, adding that they are present nationwide.
“We want as much as possible to avoid the continuous fire occurrences taking place in the country and have a safe Malawi in electrical wiring,” he said.
Of late, there have been a number of reported and unreported fires that have gutted buildings largely blamed on improper electrical installations.
If a building catches fire due to poor electrical installation, it is a huge cost to the owner.
Economic Empowerment Action Group (Eeag) executive director Temson Chinjalo said a number of small businesses have suffered because their buildings have been gutted by fire due to sub-standard electrical installations.
“We always advise our members to always solicit for service providers that are certified by Mera [Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority] to avoid inconveniences such as fires which is a huge cost to businesses,” he said.
Chinjala said using short-cuts in terms of procuring electrical services is not good because it has negative repercussions.
Elcam has since advised clients to ensure that the contractor is dully registered with the association and that no electrical installation work should be undertaken without signing an agreement to minimise disputes.