20 Jun 2013

Niue to consider having electrical inspector

5:09 pm on 20 June 2013

The general manager of the Niue Power Corporation says his company is considering bringing in an electrical inspector to oversee electrical installation work on the island.

This follows two recent incidents, including one in which a young girl lost her life.

Speedo Hetutu admits that in the other incident, involving a girl in Makefu, his workers were at fault.

He explained to Don Wiseman:

SPEEDO HETUTU: This incident happened when we were upgrading pillar boxes - low-voltage pillar boxes - in one of the villages. And one of the connections into the house was not being terminated as before.

DON WISEMAN: And how is at fault there?

SH: Well, it's the worker's fault.

DW: Should that be happening? Who is looking at the work of the workers?

SH: There is a senior joiner on-site and unfortunately there was not testing inside. The house was not checked and they left the premises.

DW: How many other situations do you think there are like this around the island?

SH: You mean pillar boxes upgrades or...?

DW: Just, I guess, essentially errors or poor workmanship by your people in terms of the power facility, the electricity wiring around the island.

SH: This is the only one so far after five years.

DW: In the other incident where the young girl died as a result of electrocution, what was the issue there?

SH: One of my electricians attended the house and he found out that the fuse to the exposed wiring was not removed. The exposed wiring on the wall was taped, partly taped. I'm sure that the tape has been there for some time. Somehow that little girl was in between the fridge, that's what I recall, and this wiring incident happened unfortunately, yeah.

DW: I know that there are people on the island who want to see more oversight of the activities of people doing wiring. Is this something that you want to see?

SH: Certainly I would like to improve on the testing and permits. And people doing the jobs should be only registered electricians.

DW: Do they need to be one step beyond that to be inspectors?

SH: Yes. And they need to be inspected by an inspector and signed off, the job, completely.

DW: So what's the possibility of that happening?

SH: We'll be talking with the government to possibly look at this way ahead for Niue to have an inspector on-site to inspect jobs and so forth.