Mumbai: Faulty earthing fries appliances; residents rue damage of Rs 1 cr

Technician blames faulty earthing, suspects that mindless digging of the area hit the power cables

Eighty residents of the eight-storey Laxmi Krupa Society building in Andheri East ran for their lives on Wednesday as their household appliances got fried one after another in an electrical short circuit, which left the premises blanketed in smoke.

Fazed residents of Laxmi Krupa Society in Andheri East count their losses as workers from the power company make arrangements for temporary repairs to the building’s earthing. Pics/Swarali Purohit
Fazed residents of Laxmi Krupa Society in Andheri East count their losses as workers from the power company make arrangements for temporary repairs to the building’s earthing. Pics/Swarali Purohit

Society chairman, Indrajit Parab, said within minutes of the short, all residents, including senior citizens from the eighth floor, rushed down the stairs and assembled in the compound. As the smoke cleared, they scurried around for answers.

Jayesh Bhardwaj, a resident on the fifth floor, said the lights in his bathroom first started flickering. As stepped out, he found his set top box, his 52-inch TV set and the refrigerator spewing smoke.

Narayan, a technician from the power company, blamed a damaged earthing for the short circuit. “This caused a normal 220 V circuit to double. The power overload affected household appliances.” The company immediately set about making temporary repairs to restore power. “We will look into the cause and location of the faulty earthing. It could have been resulted from rampant digging in some sensitive location,” said Narayan.

The residents, however, were not convinced by the explanation. They said the fuse boxes, a safety measure against power overload installed in all individual homes, did not trip.

Parab, whose TV set and laptop were also damaged, estimated the collective loss of property at over R1 crore. The building’s two elevators and wiring were not spared either. “Each home would have suffered a damage to property worth Rs 1 lakh. Clubbed with the damage to other common amenities like the lifts and the CCTV cameras, the loss is likely to be massive. The building is insured, but no one has taken individual insurance on household appliances.”

Bhardwaj claimed a personal loss of appliances worth R1.40 lakh, exclusive of the cost of replacing the wiring in his flat.

Residents questioned why they have to foot the bill for repairs themselves when the building’s earthing was at fault.

Stay safe
Install earth leakage circuit breakers in rooms. This procedure, which is simple and cheap, prevents shock and damage to household appliances. The device can detect small stray voltage fluctuations on the metal enclosures of electrical equipment and interrupts the circuit if they reach dangerous levels.

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