Karachi: During the recent rains, K-Electric (KE) highlighted operational challenges created due to over 2000 exaggerated or fake emergency complaints raised via its 118 call-centre. Constituting nearly 57% of the total emergency complaints received, these exaggerated complaints resulted in diversion of constrained resources from other serious and life-threatening hazards and were an underlying reason for extended outages in few areas.
Per the KE Spokesperson, “Emergency complaints can be lodged at KE’s 118 call-centre in case of downed power lines, damaged electrical infrastructure or sparking during torrential rains and urban flooding. Per protocol, to ensure public safety, we immediately suspend power supply to the area from where the emergency complaint is received, and our teams are also dispatched urgently to resolve the issue on priority. Unfortunately, when our teams reach the reported sites, we learn that a majority of the complaints are not genuine emergencies, but rather an effort to bypass process. This is a serious challenge which not only results in power suspension to many areas unnecessarily, it can also cost lives by diverting resources away from genuine emergencies. In addition to external challenges such as damaged roads and urban flooding, the issue of “fake emergency complaints” adds to KE’s operational challenges and delays restoration efforts as emergency complaints need to be prioritized. As such we request our customers to use this facility responsibly to report serious public safety hazards”
In anticipation of the recent monsoons, earlier predicted to be even more intense than last year, K-Electric has undertaken several initiatives to ensure public safety. These include a broad-based public safety awareness campaign which highlights the issue of kundas, illegal light switches and internet and TV cables, all of which illegally encroach on the city’s power infrastructure, compromising safety protocols and creating public safety hazards. In addition the power utility has removed close to 200,000 kgs of illegal wires from power lines and undertaken an extended review of Karachi’s electrical infrastructure ensuring tagging of all poles, earthing and grounding where the wire has been stolen and Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of the electricity network for better planning. KE has also remained in close coordination with the administrative authorities, highlighting challenges to utility provision and seeking their support for swift drainage of standing rainwater as this is a prerequisite for power restoration. The power utility continues to maintain that public safety is a collective responsibility of all entities. In this regard, KE has also moved the Honorable Sindh High Court to ensure that all stakeholders recognize their due role in ensuring an enabling environment that supports safe service delivery, through implementation of urban planning protocols, removal of encroachments and strict action against those who damage electrical infrastructure.