Last year saw increase in number of electrical accidents

A boy standing in a balcony of a house close to high voltage power lines at Shivanagar in Bengaluru on Monday.

A boy standing in a balcony of a house close to high voltage power lines at Shivanagar in Bengaluru on Monday.  

Bescom says better reporting contributed to higher statistics

The spate of electrical accidents that have been reported in the city in the past few weeks belie a trend that saw the financial year 2018-19 report the highest number of electrical accidents in at least four years.

According to statistics from the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), the number of accidents reported in 2018-19 was 172, up from 138 in 2017-18. The fatalities were highest in 2018-19: 128, up from 104 the previous year. This financial year (from April to mid-May) has already seen 16 accidents being reported.

The departmental figures (involving Bescom staff) for accidents, on the other hand, were better: 55 electrical accidents (eight of them fatal) was reported in 2018-19, the same as the previous year. This was lower than earlier years’ figures of 67 and 64.

Last year saw increase in number of electrical accidents

However, Bescom claims that a majority of accidents reported were the ‘victim’s fault’. In 2018-19, for example, the power utility says 149 were the victim’s fault. The same has been indicated for previous years too.

Bescom Managing Director C. Shikha said instances of victims hanging wet clothes on electricity wires, plucking fruits close to live wires, carrying long objects on moving vehicles, and in rural areas tying animals to electricity poles were found to be some of the reasons leading to accidents.

“We have utilised these examples in the awareness material that has been disseminated via multiple media. But the higher number of accidents reported over the years is because of timely and improved reporting of electrocution cases by field officers,” she said.

The power utility is also strengthening infrastructure in the city to avoid mishaps, she said. “Overhead lines are susceptible to damages during rainfall and storms leading to interruption in power and also electrical mishaps. A plan to convert the entire overhead line to underground (UG) or aerial bunching (AB) has been approved at a cost of ₹5,300 crore over three years. This year, works worth ₹1,870 crore will be taken up. This will ensure reliable power supply in city,” said Ms. Shikha, adding that linemen were also being trained to adopt safe practices and use safety gear on duty.

Residents’ associations in apartments have also been asked to conduct workshops in coordination with local Bescom officials on safety measures to be observed in their residential complexes, she added.

The most recent electrocution death reported in the city – on Saturday – was caused by a wire that snapped owing to a coconut frond falling on it in the rain. The victim lived in a colony in Cox Town which allegedly had many unauthorised houses. Ms. Shikha said Bescom had started issuing notices of disconnection to buildings close to 11kV lines in cases of violation of safety norms. The KPTCL is issuing notices to buildings too close to EHT (extra high tension) lines, she added.

Y.G. Muralidharan from the Karnataka Electricity Governance Network, welcomed Bescom’s move to create awareness among citizens, but said it had to be backed up by technical changes to tackle sagging wires, insulation, wires close to buildings and other issues. He also said Bescom’s claims about many accidents being the victim’s fault had to be verified with evidence.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 2:28:00 PM |

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