879 electrocuted in jurisdiction of state-owned power companies: report

Nepra report reveals no concrete steps taken to avert electrocution incidents

Zafar Bhutta October 09, 2019
NEPRA’s report reveals 879 fatalities in XW-DISCOs. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: At least 879 people have died in the last five years due to electrocution in the jurisdiction of state-owned power distribution companies, revealed the State of Industry Report 2018 by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra).

The report said that despite 879 deaths due to electrocution in the jurisdiction of distribution companies (Discos), no concrete steps were taken to avert similar incidents in the future.

The highest number of fatalities were recorded in Punjab and Sindh with 133 deaths reported in the jurisdictions of both Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) and Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco). Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) was second with 102 electrocution-related deaths.

At least 98 fatalities occurred in the jurisdiction of Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco), 95 in Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco), 84 in Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) and 81 in Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco). Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) and Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) were responsible for 78 and 44 deaths in their jurisdiction respectively.

A former managing director of the Pakistan Electric Supply Company (Pepco) told The Express Tribune that there was congestion in the distribution system of distribution companies.

Underscoring the importance of untrained staff, he urged power firms to invest in up-gradation of the distribution system and early retirement of line-man staff. He promoted the recruitment of younger people.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, a Power Division spokesperson said at least 30,000 hazards have been identified in the jurisdiction of power distribution companies, out of which 11,000 were removed to ensure safety standards.

“Safety line portal and immediate inquiry system against staff involved in the accidents have been installed,” he said. “Extensive campaigns have been launched on social media to spread awareness about safety measures," added the official.

On the other hand, experts have called on the Imran Khan-led government to strengthen the weak infrastructure and take measures to prevent similar incidents in the future by consulting with the respective regulatory authority and offer strong inter-ministerial support.

Industrial safety experts told The Express Tribune that the departments were attempting “on their own” to curb electrocution incidents.


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