Bescom grapples with rising electrical mishaps

Bescom grapples with rising electrical mishaps

Even as the Safety Awareness Month is in progress, the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) is grappling with rising electrical accidents.

According to Bescom records, the number of fatal accidents in the first half of Fiscal 2013 in the Bescom jurisdiction was 86 involving people, and 45 involving animals.

Statistics of the past five years show that the number of accidents has been persistently high. In 2009-10, the fatalities were 105, while in 2012-13, it was 127.

According to an analysis done by Bescom, there are seven categories under which these accidents have taken place. Among them, snapping of conductors, accidental contact with live wire, lack of supervision and violation of safety norms and defective appliances top the list.

The number of deaths due to electrical accidents involving the public is far higher than the number of deaths of the Bescom staff. In both 2012-13 fiscal and 2013-14 fiscal (until November), the number of fatal accidents involving the public has been higher compared with the number of non-fatal accidents. In 2012-13, 116 people died in electrical accidents and 51 met with non-fatal accidents.

In the current 2013-14 fiscal, 81 people have died, compared with 36 people who escaped in non-fatal incidents. As far as the staff is concerned, the company has lost four lives in 2013-14, and as many as 11 in 2012-13.

There have been deaths of animals, too. Of the 45 deaths of animals in electrical accidents, 17 were due to snapping of conductors, 13 due to accidental contact with live wire, among others.

In a circular on November 19, 2013, Bescom General Manager (Quality and Safety) Mohan Kalluraya notes: “Electrical accidents in the Bescom jurisdiction are increasing.

The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) is viewing this seriously... Even after issuing various circulars regarding identification and rectification of hazardous locations, yet accidents are on the rise.”

In a subsequent circular issued on December 7, 2013, by Bescom Director (Technical) H Nagesh, it is noted, “From the analysis of accidents reported, it is observed that the occurrence of departmental accidents is due to overconfidence of the field staff...”

Speaking to Deccan Herald, a KERC officer said that the majority of accidents occur because there is no sufficient gap between buildings and wires. Narrow roads and slums are more vulnerable.

Such accidents could be curtailed by 99 per cent by replacing open conductors with aerial bunched cables, he said. But these cables are quite expensive. “It is important to ensure that even if a wire snapped, it should not be hazardous. A better option is to resort to the underground system, though it is expensive. It costs approximately six times more than the overhead system, but it is definitely safer. Bescom may not have funds to replace it all at once, but it could be done in phases.”

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