May 19, Shidlaghatta: A lineman of the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) died of electrocution early in the morning when he was attending to a fault.

May 18, Church Street: It was around 7.10 p.m. when a man was walking back from the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium as rain delayed the start of the match,. He allegedly died of electrocution after coming in contact with the mesh covering the junction box. Even though the police reached within 20 minutes, Bescom personnel reportedly took over an hour to reach the spot.

May 10, Nagavarapalya: Residents in and around the area woke up to a rude shock as they saw a dog caught in flames at 5.40 a.m. Almost an hour later, Bescom officials ‘woke up’ to the incident and attended to the wire that had snapped off the electric pole and electrocuted the dog.

Not only is the Bescom coming under fire for the poor response time, but also for the lack of maintenance of its equipment, which is a major contributor to the numerous accidents. Shockingly, Bescom spends only a fraction of its budget amount on equipment maintenance — less than 1 per cent.

“Of the annual budget of Rs. 11,000 crore, Bescom spends only Rs. 60 crore on maintenance. Though the local officers (circle inspectors, engineers, etc) are given the responsibility of maintenance, no one wants to take liability for spending that cannot be quantified. There are 1.4 lakh transformers of Bescom; who will certify their maintenance?” a senior Bescom official said.

This renders the power utility with no option but to limit its ‘maintenance work’ to pruning of tree branches and the like. As for the response time, though the promise of the utility is to keep the maximum response time to 30 minutes, its personnel surpassed its deadline by a long margin.

Bescom officials said the problem was with the limitations of the helpline (080-22873333), which could handle only a few calls at a time. Instead, they urged the citizens to use the SMS service (9243150000) as it reduced the waiting time. The number of response teams have also been increased to nearly 190 from 56 two years ago, Bescom officials said in their defence.

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