Power Ministry seeks demolition of structures along power lines

Nigeria’s minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Raji Fashola has tasked electricity regulators to enforce regulations on construction of buildings near high tension wires.

Professor Fashola stated this at the 15th Monthly Power sector meeting taking place in Jos, the Plateau State Capital.

The Minister, while regretting the electrocution of 30 football fans at a viewing centre in Calabar the Cross Rivers State Capital, said the accident was clearly preventable.

At least 30 people were confirmed dead, after being electrocuted by a high tension cable that reportedly fell on them.

The minister said while the accident was regrettable it was “clearly man-made and avoidable”.

He called on the Transmission Company of Nigeria TCN, the Distribution Companies, DisCos and the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency NEMSA to ensure that the applicable regulations for set back and approval of structures are followed.

According to the minster, all structures not meeting the required set back regulations should be demolished.

He gave the details of the setbacks allowed under the law as follows:

  1. For the 330 KV lines the set back is a total of 50 meters, that is 25 meters on both sides from the centre of the line.
  2. For the 132 KV the set back is a total of 30 meters, that is 15 meters on both sides from the centre of the line;
  3. For the 33 KV lines which come close to our homes the buildings should observe at least 3.5 meters from the closest line;
  4. For the 11 KV lines, it is at least a 3-meter set back;
  5. For 415 volt lines it is 1.5 meters;
  6. For underground cables they should be buried at least 3 meters below the ground surface.

He warned that not enforcing the required regulation was potentially catastrophic adding that “There may be debates over whether the demolition of such structures is fair since people live or do businesses there; there may also be arguments as to whether the transmission lines got there before the buildings were erected”.

“It is this logic that ensures there will be no repeat of the Calabar incident and that those who lost their lives would not have done so in vain”, the minister said.