Scientific Officer and Technical Supervisor at the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has advised citizens on the prudent measures to take when buying cables from the market.

According to Francis Mensah Akpaloo, the ordinary customer may not be able to identify which cables are good or substandard on the market. However, there are things to look out for.

“What Ghana Standards Authority has been doing over the years is that, on our website, cables that we have tested, which have passed our test, have been listed there. Nonetheless, when you get to the market, cables should be branded. Buy a cable that has been branded.”

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Thursday, he said checking to ensure that the cables meet required standards is key.

“We have the wiring code GS-1009. That is a standard. A standard should have figures and letters. For wiring cables, we have a standard like GSIEC-60227. This information should be part of the labeling or the marking requirement. Labeling means that the packaging of the product should have this information on it or on the insulation. The skin of the product should have the marking of this number, to say that this cable was manufactured to this standard.”

Discussions on the Show focused on the illegal electrical wires menace which has resulted in numerous fire outbreaks and the role of regulatory institutions like the Ghana Standards Authority and the Energy Commission in the importation of electrical wires into the country.

He said that the length of the cable should be indicated on it and that on a general level, a coil of cable should be about 100 yards, which is approximately 91.4 metres long.

“So when you go to the market and you find a cable with a label on it and the length is 80 yards, 70 yards, what that basically means is that if you needed two of the 100 yards cable for your wiring, and you decided to go and buy the 80 yards cable, you would end up buying about four or five of that.

“Frankly, the 80 yards cable should not cost more than a 100 yards cable. So you may be deceived by thinking that the cost of this is less than the cost of the 100 yards. But you end up buying more of this.”

Another test he recommended in checking for the quality and durability of wires is the magnetism effect of these cables.

“Pure copper conductor should not be attracted to magnet. When you’re going out to the market to buy electrical cable, ask the seller to peel one end of the insulation and get a magnet close to the copper. The magnet should not attract the copper. As soon as there is an attraction, it tells you that there are impurities or the copper is not a pure copper.

“There are other chemicals or other metals and that would raise the heat level of the product when electricity passes through it. And when this is sustained, it can melt the insulation or the protection around it and if that also is sustained, then there is fire.”

With people being price sensitive, Mr Akpaloo advised Ghanaians to pay close attention to the prices of the wires on the market.

“Finally, we can talk about pricing. A 1.5mm cable of dealer A, the price should not be that different from dealer B. So when you’re going to buy cables from the market, please compare prices. Where you find out that the same size of cable, the price variation is just too high, then it calls for a serious scrutiny. Otherwise, you’d end up burning your facility.”

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