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KARACHI: K-Electric has submitted an application in the Sindh High Court, requesting it to expedite proceedings in a Constitutional Petition filed in Oct last year, in which the power utility had initiated legal proceedings against the unauthorised use of electricity infrastructure by cable TV and internet providers.

The KE officials said the petition was filed in order to rid the city's power infrastructure from encroachments which are not only unwarranted but also pose a severe risk to the safe and reliable supply of electricity as well as to the lives of the residents of the city.

They said the petition includes as respondents, cable TV and internet companies, the city administration, municipal bodies and concerned regulators and was filed to bring to the notice of the Court that the inaction of the respondents has led to the creation of an unsafe environment which has jeopardized the integrity of the electricity system and created public safety hazards specially during previous monsoon season.

With the onset of monsoon again and the prediction of much heavier rains this year by the Pakistan Meteorological Department, and in the absence of any action by stakeholders, K-Electric has moved the Court to expedite proceedings in the pending petition for the absolute safety of the citizens of Karachi.

In the petition, KE has submitted that the power infrastructure is continuously being infringed upon and encroached by cable TV providers and internet companies.

The power utility further submitted that these cables and boosters are installed at various locations across Karachi without adhering to the applicable electrical safety standards and the current through them passes to the poles and other downstream infrastructure, creating a severe hazard for the public at large as well as for the employees of the power utility. As per several investigations, these unwarranted internet cables and switches for streetlights installed on electric poles have been found to be the underlying cause of numerous incidents including fatal ones that have taken place in the city in the past.

KE submitted to the SHC that it is essentially the job of the city administration, civic and regulatory bodies to ensure that Karachi is made free from encroachments, be it on the ground or on electricity infrastructure, which also includes unsafe street-light switches, and also to ensure that electricity installations are free from water-logging.

The power utility has been engaging with all concerned stakeholders so that they recognize their due role in providing an enabling environment for the power utility to operate by enforcing basic urban development protocols in a planned manner across the city and to eliminate the issue of encroachments, illegal connections, unwarranted use of the infrastructure and water-logging around power infrastructure during and after rain. However, despite repeated requests by the power utility, in the form of letters and public appeals, as well as talks with stakeholders such as cable operators and their associations, and commitments to do the needful, they have so far failed to come through.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020