Transformers: too close for comfort?

Poorly maintained transformers on Venkataswamy Naidu Road, Shivaji Circle, Shivajinagar, Bangalore. Photo: K. Gopinathan  


Regulars on Church Street go about their business as usual two days after a senior executive of a private company was allegedly electrocuted when he reportedly held on to the grill of the electricity transformer here.

But for a few security guards and autorickshaw drivers, staff at nearby restaurants did not even seem to be aware of the incident. A certain public apathy surrounds issues of grave concern like unsafe transformers that may spell death for pedestrians.

Muniraju, a security guard at a commercial building on Museum Road, says, “Unless there is a casualty, nobody cares if rules are flouted.” The transformer outside the building where Mr. Muniraju works does not have a fence and some wires hang precariously from the transformer. “Visitors to the offices in the building complain about the inconvenience, but no formal complaint has been lodged so far,” he adds.

According to Dakshin, a marketing executive who works on Church Street, “This is a busy city where people hardly think about the risks a puddle or a pole might pose. Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) must ensure that the upkeep of transformers and electricity lines is priority.” He adds that another inconvenience is the placement of transformers on footpaths. He says pedestrians are in danger and sometimes are forced to walk on the road braving heavy traffic.

Norms flouted

According to Karnataka Electricity Regulation Commission (KERC) regulations, open space of at least 3X5 metres should be earmarked for both low tension and high tension transformers. It is also mandated that a minimum safety clearance of 2.6 metres vertically (of the live point) and 0.75 metres horizontally be maintained from a transformer of any capacity.

In addition, a fence of minimum 2.1 metres in height must be put around the transformer. But fences are sometimes either pulled down or not even installed for paucity of space.

Nasco Gulmohar East, a multi-storey residential building on Haines Road, accommodates a transformer within its premises with hardly any clearance from the footpath and flats above. Abdul Shukoor, a flat owner, blames the builder for not taking the precautions. “It is after all the Bescom that has given the builder a clearance for the transformer here. We have no say in things like this,” he says.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2017 9:13:56 PM |