Minister urges 'third-party' insurance for electrical accidents

Published On: April 10, 2018 05:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

NEA spent Rs 122 million in last one decade for compensation to victims of electrical accidents

KATHMANDU, April 10: Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoWERI), Barshaman Pun, has said that 'third-party' insurance could be helpful in minimizing the financial losses from electrical accidents. Energy Minister Pun's statement for adopting third-party insurance on the electricity sector comes in the wake of rising number injuries and casualties due to electrical accidents in recent years. Third-party insurance is a form of insurance purchased by an insured (first party) from an insurer (second party) for protection against the claims of another (third party). 

“After the third-party insurance was implemented in the transport sector, the street protest following the death of people in road accident has stopped while victims have also been receiving compensation from insurance companies,” said Minister Pun, addressing a function organized by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and the Society of Electrical Engineers, Nepal on Monday to mark the electricity safety day. “If the third-party insurance system is implemented in the electricity sector, this could be a very good alternative for reducing financial risk and for compensating the victims of electricity accidents,” he added.

He, however, did not mention who will cover the cost of insurance. 

According to the NEA, there have been 752 electricity related accidents over the past ten years alone. The NEA data shows that the NEA has spent Rs 122 million in the last one decade to provide compensation to the victim of the electrical accidents. In the current fiscal year 2017/18 alone, eight persons have lost their lives in electrical accidents. Among them, five were NEA staffers while three were members of the public. NEA officials say that many casualties could be avoided if the NEA staffers are provided quality safety equipment.
Natural disasters like lightning and wind, substandard power supply system, long wires used for electrification, use of low-quality electrical equipment, power theft through use of hooks and lack of awareness are attributed to electrical accidents.
Electrocution has been one of the major causes of death at construction sites, hotels and roads.

Anup Kumar Upadhyaya, the secretary at the MoWERI, said that one and all should be careful about the electrical accidents that cause huge financial losses. “In many cases, the carelessness of service providers in terms of taking safety measures have also causes electrical accidents,” admitted Upadhyaya, who is also the chairman of the NEA.  

NEA's Managing Director Kulman Ghising said that electrical accidents have added financial burden to the NEA. “The NEA has been facing financial burden while providing compensation to the injured and the families of those who die in the electrical accidents,” he said. “Taking precautions to reduce electrical accidents is not only about minimizing casualties, it is also about improving the financial health of the NEA,” he added. 

According to Hararaj Neupane, deputy managing director at the Distribution and Consumer Services Directorate, the NEA has issued circular to its staffers to take all necessary safety measures while dealing with live wires at power poles. “Though we have issued circular for safety measures, it has not been implemented strictly. The safety measures must be taken while working in the electrical sector,” he added. 

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