K-Electric wants the Karachi commissioner’s help to prevent any more deaths this rainy season.
It wrote a letter to Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani and other stakeholders, asking for support. Heavy rain has been forecast in Karachi from August 9 to 11, wrote the chief distribution officer in his letter. He said K-Electric needs the support of civic bodies to “play their role and provide us an environment with safe access and working conditions”.
He asked that civic bodies drain standing rainwater around power infrastructure (like poles and pylons) because the water is a huge impediment and the cause of many accidents.
The recent flooding impeded K-Electric’s work during the rain, as did encroachments and flooding in low-lying areas.
Urban flooding contributes to power outages, noted K-Electric, adding that kundas (illegal power connections) create safety hazards, especially during the rain.
He also said that unwarranted use of electricity poles by internet and TV cable companies or for signs and hoardings is also a safety hazard. All these things make it harder for K-Electric to work in the rain.
He said civic bodies’ efforts are “critical to enforce basic urban development protocols in a planned manner”.
K-Electric also wants a hotline to be set up between K-Electric and the Commissioner Office for emergency communication. It should be manned round the clock.
The officer said that K-Electric is already conducting maintenance, network-wide inspections, installation of aerial bundled cables and increasing the vigilance of its on ground teams, as well as conducting public awareness campaigns ahead of the rains.
During the last spell of rain in Karachi, 20 people were electrocuted to death. A NEPRA investigation team visited Karachi and in its report assigned blame for the deaths and overall poor power situation to K-Electric.
K-Electric said it is fully cooperating with the regulatory authority in its investigation but so far, it hasn’t received any report from the authority.