Western Power partially responsible for schoolboy’s electric shock

Police attend the scene where a 15-year-old boy suffered an electric shock on March 16.
Police attend the scene where a 15-year-old boy suffered an electric shock on March 16.

ENERGY Minister Mike Nahan admitted in parliament today, that Western Power is partially responsible for a teenage boy and his friend receiving electric shocks from a light pole.

Western Power’s chief executive Paul Italiano said he is disappointed in their role in the incident.

“Unfortunately, on the evidence before us, it appears that one of the contributing factors to the incident was that a Western Power employee mistakenly re-energised the streetlights incorrectly, and that there were steps that Western Power could have taken to prevent the incident,” he said.

Tariq Rowles and Chevaunne Bussola both received shocks from the light pole on March 16.

The teenagers were on their way to school when they came in contact with the pole.

While Chevaunne was released from hospital with minor injuries, Tariq was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital and remained comatose for nearly a week.

“I, and everyone at Western Power, take the safety of the community and our employees very seriously,” Mr Italiano said.

“As such, I am always concerned when people are involved in an incident like this, and I am relieved that Tariq Rowles and Chevaunne Bussola are both on their way to a full recovery.”

Mr Italiano said Western Power has completed its internal investigation into the incident and will present a report to EnergySafety on the incident shortly.

“Importantly, our investigation did not find a systemic failure, however, we have taken steps to immediately review processes and work practices,” he said.

“We have also examined similar cases of damaged streetlights in the past five years and confirmed that none pose a potential electrical safety issue.

“We are deeply concerned about what happened to Tariq and Chevaunne, and we will continue to work with EnergySafety as it finalises its investigation.”

Mandurah chief executive Mark Newman said he is pleased with the preliminary investigation findings.

“This substantiates the City’s previous statements in relation to how the pole was reenergised,” he said.

“As Energy Safety is still conducting their investigation it is inappropriate for the City to make any further comment.

“The City’s thoughts continue to be with the teenagers affected by this incident, during their recovery.”