Islamabad    -    K-Electric Limited, private distribution company operating in Karachi informed the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat on Thursday that internet and TV cables and garbage were major causes of electrocution that led to death of over two dozen residents during the recent monsoon rains. Briefing the Committee meeting chaired by Senator Muhammad Talha Memood, Amer Zia,  K-Electric Chief Distribution Officer (CDO) said that despite unplanned development in Karachi, his company has replaced the bare conductors with insulated conductors in order to ensure more safety.

On this, NEPRA Director General, Nadir Ali Khoso interrupted him and insisted that was actually the main cause of electrocution and deaths. He argued that the K-Electric had replaced the conductors without having proper earthling system which led to cause of electrocution and death of thirty five people. However, Amer Zia rejected his point of view saying K-Electric has replaced the bare conductors with more safer and insulated conductors.

He continued his argument insisting that besides street lights and illegal power connections, TV and internet cables as well as garbage remained the major causes of electrocution during the monsoon rains in Karachi. “The Cable operators have threatened us to shutdown their countrywide service if K-Electric shut their cable and TV networks in the city”, Amer Zia asserted. He informed the committee that K-Electric has served notices to PEMRA and other public utilities which caused problem. He further said that there were nearly 500,000 illegal power connections (Kunda) used by the city dwellers and that K-Electric has so removed many illegal power connections weighing more than 200,000 kilograms. Yet the problem continues. He continued that his company which has more than 600 square kilometres of operational area is running 1800 feeders to provide electricity its consumers. Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of the K-Electric Ikram ul Majeed Sehgal said in spite of these factors and losses, his company was ready to take responsibility of some operational lapses.

On this Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan Swati remarked that K-Electric cannot be absolved for its part. Chairman of the Committee, Senator Muhammad Talha Memood after hearing the point of views of both NEPRA and K-Electric Limited adjourned the meeting till 17 October saying the committee would like to visit Karachi for onsite assessment. He also directed NEPRA to submit a comprehensive report to the committee on countrywide causalities caused by electrocution before the next meeting. The committee discussed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for electric supply and distribution companies during the monsoon season to avoid fatal and non-fatal accidents by electrocution. The Committee also discussed measures taken by NEPRA to determine the body responsible for accidents and deaths due to electrocution in Karachi during the monsoon rain, preventive actions taken to avoid such accidents in future and compensation mechanism devised for the families of the electrocution in Karachi.

Earlier, Chairman of the Committee took serious notice of the absence of Chairman NEPRA from the meeting without intimation and permission from the committee and warned that his case will be referred to the privilege committee if he did not ensure his presence in the next meeting.