The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) yesterday announced new regulations for the importation of electrical installation products with those that fall below the standards set liable to be seized when enforcement begins on February 1 next year.
“These standards were approved by the National Bureau of Standards and were subsequently made mandatory by Cabinet. These are not technical regulations but [regulations on the quality] of all electrical installation products imported,” Shailendra Rai, the acting Deputy Executive Director of the GNBS, told a press briefing at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure’s boardroom yesterday.
The 31 new electrical standards are aimed at improving the safety and reducing fires within domestic and commercial properties. The move is expected to see higher quality products being sold to consumers. Under the regulations, imported electrical items that are below the standards set can be seized and importers prosecuted. From February 1, 2020, the GNBS will commence enforcement of the new regulations.
Rai said that the standards were developed following a request from the government. He stated that under the regulations, it is mandatory for importers to register with the GNBS. In this way, the bureau will be able to monitor and provide consumers with a list of regulated entities from which they can purchase electrical supplies. This list of compliant importers and dealers will be published.
The GNBS official indicated that importers and dealers were granted a six-month grace period to start importing quality products and fall in line with the new regulations. “At the Bureau of Standards, we would have published notices in the newspapers [and] on the other media, sensitising importers and dealers that these standards were made mandatory, and they have six months to ensure compliance,” Rai said, while explaining that a national forum was hosted last week to discuss what is required of retailers to ensure that they are compliant.
“…So when they (store operators) are purchasing products via the importers or dealers, they are compliant with the requirements. Also, these products would be examined by the Bureau of Standards,” he emphasised.
The newly approved regulations for electrical standards cover seasonal and holiday lights, lamp holders, conduit tubing and cable fittings, molded case circuit breakers, molded switches and circuit breaker enclosures for photovoltaic systems, safety for electrical wires, cables and flexible cords, among others.
Rai said that from February, the GNBS will be conducting inspections at sales outlets to ensure compliance. Materials imported and found to be defective and not in compliance with the standards, will not be permitted into the country. In the case where materials are below standards and are found in stores, it will be seized and removed.
Additionally, Rai disclosed that during the enforcement period, they will be working closely with the Competition and Consumer Affairs Com-mission (CCAC) and the Government Electrical Inspectorate (GEI) to ensure standards are being met and followed.
“Whenever a consumer come and make a complaint to the CCAC, that information will be shared to the Bureau of Standards so we can follow up where they purchase the product from. Similarly, when the GEI conduct their operations, if they detect any defective product, they can share that information with the bureau and we will take the necessary action,” Rai disclosed.
Meanwhile, CCAC Director Dawn Cush said that they will be working to have stores retailing electrical products and supplies be compliant with the regulations. She asserted that every complaint will be investigated and independent inspections will be done to ensure that the sellers are following the new regulations.
Further, Minister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry Jaipaul Sharma said that consumers must be aware of the quality of products they are purchasing. In his statement at the press briefing, he said that before the formulation of the new list of regulations, there was only one regulation for an electrical item, which was the holiday lights used during Christ-mas and Diwali celebrations.
“Fire hazards, death by electrocution, destruction of property, etc, are some of the most common outcomes of the lack of electrical standards and enforcement,” Sharma observed.
He added that many Guyanese opt for low quality electrical items because of the cost without knowing the potential damage it can cause. Therefore, with these regulations in place, he hopes that such judgement would be a thing of the past since the GNBS will monitor the quality of items coming into the country and sold to persons.
GEI Chief Inspector Roland Barclay said that subsequent to the enforcement, they will begin a nationwide campaign of inspecting homes and commercial buildings to determine whether the electrical materials used in the electrical installation process meet the standards. He said that if people’s homes or businesses are found to be non-compliant with the standards, they will have to carry out corrective works.
Additionally, Barclay said that they are hoping to introduce a new policy which would require electrical shops to have certified and licensed electricians working in the store to assist consumers. He asserted that this is a necessary move since many consumers might not have the knowledge regarding what would be the best item for their home or business and having certified persons in-store can remedy the situation by allowing them to make informed purchases.
He also reminded persons that they must utilise the services of certified electricians when they are carrying out works.
“If it is found that persons who are not licensed are performing electrical installation, under the law, they can be fined and jailed and if they are found to be installing materials that are not safe, that same imprisonment, fines can be added to those laws…These licensed contractors are experienced and they would be able to advise you whether that material or that outlet is good or not,” Barclay emphasised.
The compulsory list of national electrical standards was created following consensus among the GNBS, the GEI, the CCAC, the University of Guyana, the Central Housing and Planning Authority and the Guyana Energy Agency.
Source: Stabroek News.