The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has taken serious notice of the recent power blackout that plunged almost the entire country into darkness.
The power regulator has decided to set up a high-powered committee of its top professionals. The committee will also comprise renowned protection engineers from the private sector, which will investigate the reasons and facts that led to the blackout.
The committee will submit its recommendations in a bid to avoid such incidents in coming months. Meanwhile, the regulator has imposed a fine of Rs13 million on the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) on charges of negligence, resulting in fatal incidents during the period July-December 2019.
The regulator, on receipt of reports of 26 deaths due to electrocution during the above period, constituted a two-member investigation committee under Section 27A of the Nepra Act 1997 for visiting the relevant areas, conducting investigation and ascertaining facts and possible violations of Nepra laws, rules and regulations.
The investigation committee’s report revealed that 14 out of the total 26 fatalities occurred on part of Pesco’s negligence. Therefore, the authority issued a show cause notice to Pesco under Section 27B of the Nepra Act and gave an opportunity of hearing to Pesco.
Based on the evidence available on record, submissions of Pesco and relevant provisions of laws, rules and regulations, the authority concluded that Pesco had failed to discharge its statutory obligations to maintain safety standards as laid down in the relevant code and manual.
Furthermore, Pesco failed to report fatalities immediately to the authority in a prescribed manner as envisaged under the Nepra Performance Standards (Distribution) Rules 2005. The authority, therefore, imposed a fine of Rs13 million on Pesco and directed the company to compensate the bereaved families and share details of such compensation with the authority in due course of time.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2021.