BESCOM moves to curb electrocution in Bangalore

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Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) began to take few initiatives to create awareness among citizens in Bangalore where reports of electrocutions is increasing day by day.

Addressing the issue in the city and challenges faced by BESCOM, its Chief General Manager Ananda Naik said, "Creating awareness among citizens is extremely necessary to avoid electrocution."

B'lore:BESCOM aims to curb electrocution

"This year we are planning to hire 15 hoardings in Bangalore city at the cost of Rs 2 crores to create awareness," added Naik.

In an exclusive interview to OneIndia, Naik also informed about other challenges that BESCOM has been facing and future plannings of the organisation.

What plans do you have to make Bangalore more electric efficient city?

Bangalore city is provided with 24 Hrs of continuous power supply. With a mission to provide better service to consumers by increasing the reliability and quality of power supply, initiatives have been taken in bringing improvements in technologies involved. Bangalore is one of the earlier cities to enjoy the provision of electricity which was about a 100 years ago and hence, prominence is given for system augmentation and strengthening of the existing network on a continuous basis.

In addition to the above, BESCOM has already replaced the existing over-head lines with underground cables beginning from the core of Bangalore city along a radius of 5 km. Also the bare conductors in places of congestion are replaced by Insulated ones (Arial Bunched Cables). There by improving safety and also the aesthetic view of the city.

Sophisticated tools like Power hacksaws, Bucket vans, Ladders, Emergency lights, Cranes etc have been made available with other necessary resources including vehicles in all the Service Stations. The number of Service Stations have been enhanced from 60 (2 yrs back) to 160 now in Bangalore city in order to resolve the power supply issues at the earliest.

A 24X7 BESCOM Helpline (080 22873333) with existing 30 executives receives consumer complaints of all nature and from the month of June'13 the total number of executives would be 60, to avoid congestion of incoming calls with BESCOM having a consumer base of 8.1 million spread over 8 districts.
 Reliable and quality power supply is ensured to consumer with addition in the number of Sub stations, 11 kV primary distribution lines and separate 11 kV feeders for Industrial and Commercial usage.
Distribution Automation System (DAS) which monitors the status of distribution networks in real time and Smart Grid are some of the new schemes in pipe line which are expected to be more reliable and efficient, and light up more homes.

What challenges are there before you as chief of BESCOM?

The main challenges in BESCOM are to reduce the interruption duration and thereby providing reliable power supply to the consumers. To achieve this we also need to create infrastructure and minimize the faults. However reduction of distribution loss can't be neglected.

Addressing the consumer complaints at the faster rate is also one of the issues that we have taken up as a major challenge. Keeping pre monsoon downpour in mind we also sense that improvising the disaster management system to counter any natural calamity that may occur is also crucial need of the hour.

Do you think educating citizens necessary to stay away from electrical shocks? If yes, what are your plans?

Yes. Creating awareness among citizens is extremely necessary to avoid electrocution or shock. BESCOM has been spending 50 lakhs every year towards safety of employees. This is now raised to Rs 92 lakhs in the year 2013-13. In addition to this BESCOM spends Rs 60-70 lakhs every year for creating awareness among public through advertisements in hoardings, newspapers, magazines. This year we are planning to hire 15 hoardings in Bangalore city at the cost of Rs 2 crores to create awareness.

Apart from this all the 8 circles of BESCOM are given free hand to plan and spend on safety related actions. Most importantly cautions boards are also displayed on feeder boxes, transformers and on RMU's to keep the jay walkers alert and avert the dangers.

What plans BESCOM has to tackle problems during monsoon?

BESCOM has 3 months of rainy days around the corner. Downpour on 22nd May in Bangalore city was like a test run for us. Uprooting of trees and flooding during rain leads to both snapping of conductors and short circuiting, resulting in power supply failure. To handle such situation efficiently we are strengthening our Helpline (080-22873333) 15 more lines will be added to existing 45 lines, making it a 60 line helpline. This up gradation is planned considering pre-monsoon downpour. The additional lines will resolve line clogging trouble during heavy rains.

To respond immediately on consumer complaints we have added 50 teams to the existing 110 teams, along with the vehicle, equipment and tools. Because of this, average time of attending any complaint had constrained to 1hr 36 minutes and all the complaints are attended swiftly. BESCOM has 160 vehicles in the city and 20 in the rural areas. To attend more than one complaint at a time, permission has been given to hire more than 1 vehicle for each section office. Permission has also given for hiring one crane for each sub division so that the uprooting of pool can be fixed instantly.

Are there power thefts? If so, what actions have you taken to curb it and what action being taken against culprits?

Yes. There are many cases of power thefts are being reported. BESCOM has its own vigilance wing that acts on the complaints of power theft. There are 4 BESCOM vigilance police stations in Bangalore city and 1 each in other 7 districts. Vigilance police regularly conduct the raids and inspections to curb the illegal connections. From April 2012 to March 2013 vigilance officers have booked 1514 cognizable and 1738 Non cognizable cases.

Culprits caught were being penalized under the Indian Electricity Act 2003.
Under this section anyone caught stealing electricity can be imprisoned for up to three years or fined or both.

In Bangalore in many places power is being misused or over used, like in palace grounds, melas etc. What are your suggestions to save power?

The power supply provided to places like Palace ground, Melas etc are categorized under Commercial usage and are billed at a higher tariff as applicable to Commercial consumers. It is ensured by the local officer of BESCOM that there is no over load on the system due to such temporary usage and the BESCOM vigilance team ensures that there is no misuse of the power supply given.

In case of any such instances of misuse of power supply, Vigilance team imposes penalty to defaulting persons/agencies if the misuse is proved.

Demand Side Management (DSM) activities in BESCOM involve creating awareness among consumer in using energy efficient equipments, use of renewable energy and shifting of load to off-peak load duration of the day thereby maintaining a stable system.

In many areas, electric wires hang dangerously near the balconies at touchable distance. Is BESCOM checking such things?

On regular basis BESCOM surveys hazardous installations and rectify them. Photographs of such rectification are submitted to KERC every month. There are around 34000 transformers in Bangalore and 1,77,839 across BESCOM jurisdiction, So one can imagine the number of live wires. On top of this building constructed illegally violating the safety norms make the situation further complicated. In such a given condition underground cabling is the one of the best apt solution. But it is the fact that underground cabling will cost 3600 crores. BESCOM has taken this up in phases and also making it compulsory that any new connection in Bangalore is provided through UG cables only.

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