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September 9, 2019

Powerful report


September 9, 2019

K-Electric, the company responsible for supplying electricity to Karachi, brings out some very extreme reactions from the residents of the city. The reason: regular power cuts that can last over 24 hours, infrastructure that is literally falling apart, wiring that hangs over roads like spiderwebs, and electrocutions during the rainy season. Now, an investigation by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has held that KE was responsible for 19 out of 35 electrocution cases in Karachi as well as for the long power breakdowns. The report is based during the period of heavy rain in July and August this year, but usually there are problems even when no clouds hang over Karachi.

Legal proceedings are to be brought against KE under the Nepra Act, 1997. A show-cause notice has been issued to K-Electric. The company has meanwhile claimed that it is a responsible, law-abiding organisation and will submit its response to the authorities within the stipulated period. In its defence, the company has pointed out that some of the deaths due to electrocution occurred inside homes due to faulty wiring and the placement of TV and internet cables along electricity poles. This is reportedly mentioned in Nepra’s report as well.

The fact that the matter, so very important to all Karachi residents, is being looked into is important. Loss of life and power outages both need to be investigated. We hope Nepra’s investigation will lead to something real being done to ease the misery of Karachi’s people. The entire infrastructure and wiring in Karachi need to improve. There is much that is wrong with street construction, the drainage system and prosecuting illegal connections. But power is central to life in this day and age. Without it, we can barely function. Yes, there should be a consultation between all stakeholders. But eventually, it is K-Electric which needs to find a way to minimise the risk to public safety and explain to us why the kind of deaths due to electrocution which occur in Karachi are not the norm in other places.

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