Electrical Audit Must Be Made Compulsory

With 32,516 of the 48,434 fire incidents from 2008 to 2018 taking place due to short-circuit, civic corporation urges chief electrical inspector to carry out electrical audits. Around 80 per cent of fire incidents in the city happen due to short-circuits, as per data. Of the 48,434 fire incidents from 2008 to 2018, 32,516 were because of short-circuits. The primary cause of the fire at Sachinam Heights, which claimed six lives too was a short-circuit. Even the fire at One Avighna Park at Currey Road in October and Hansa Heritage at Kandivli in November had started with sparks in electric wires.

However, the Maharashtra Fire Act does not have a provision for mandatory electrical audits. While drafting a new Act or making amendments is a long process, the BMC is now pursuing the matter with the office of the chief electrical inspector (CEI) of the state. “As per the provision of section 36 of Central Electrical Regulations, 2010, the CEI has to carry out the electrical audit of all the high-rise buildings having a height of 15 metres and above by electrical inspectors,” said Ashwini Bhide, additional commissioner, BMC. She added that the BMC recently conducted a joint meeting of the chief fire officer and representative of CEIs and informed them to carry out the audit. The civic body will formally write to them this week.

“Electrical audits are necessary as it is the major cause of the fire. If we curtail the cause, we can control over 80 per cent of incidents,” said Hemant Parab, chief fire officer, MFB. He added that the norms of electric audit such as period of auditing, standardisation of equipment will be decided by the electrical inspector of Maharashtra.

“There is very little awareness about electric safety and proper wiring to deal with overloading. The basic system cannot take an additional load of more and more electronic appliances. The short-circuits occur due to multiple reasons like bad maintenance, poor quality of materials and overloading. So just like fire audits which look into aspects like passage space, hurdle-free staircases, and the status of the fire-fighting system, an electric audit can give an idea of the electrical system,” said Rajendra Chaudhari, an officer on special duty with the Mumbai Fire Brigade.

There is a provision of electrical audits under the Central Electricity Authority regulations but the state hasn’t implemented it. “The Maharashtra Fire Act, which was drafted 15 years ago, does not have provisions for electrical audit. We cannot make it compulsory unless there is a provision,” said a senior fire brigade official.


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