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Not fixing responsibility for wrong doings in past, Govt to spend 400 crore for installation of new metres
11/9/2018 10:28:47 PM
Minam Saqib

Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Nov 9: Four years on, the government is yet to fix responsibility for procurement of faulty meters. Instead, the government is going to install new meters at a cost of 400 Crore. People of Jammu and Kashmir have been complaining of installation of sub-standard meters by the Power Development Department but nobody listened.
In 2013, the Power Development Department admitted to the State Electricity Regulatory Commission of having procured "poorquality" metres and installed them for the consumers which necessitated the replacement. "In its response, JKPDD while accepting that one of the lots procured in the past had developed some defects which necessitated replacement of the meters. It clarified that meters being procured under R-APDRP and other schemes are as per the CEA's latest specifications," the PDD has mentioned in a petition submitted with the SERC.
Despite Power Development Department having admitted to the State Electricity Regulatory Commission of having procured "poor quality" metres and installed them for the consumers, no action has been taken who are responsible for procuring them.
The official said that PDD has been replacing the metres with the new ones. "What about those metres which became obsolete within days. Government only made claims that enquiry will be held into this scam but has not be implemented on the ground," sources said.
Now the government has engaged the Rural Electricity Corporation Power Distribution Company Limited (RECPDCL), a private company for procurement and installment 10 lakh prepaid and smart meters in the state. The cost of the project is over Rs 400 crore.
An official of the Power Development Department said that prepaid meters will have to be recharged just like a prepaid mobile phone number.
"The consumers will be given a card for recharging the meters. Once the electricity consumed exceeds the recharge amount, the meter will stop functioning," the official said.
The government started the installation of meters over a decade ago. However, over half of the registered connections are yet to have meters. "Some of the already existed meters developed faults and technical snags and there are always chances of errors," the official said.
The official said that the company has been told that new meters should be of better quality.
The department had envisaged to meter to all its consumers by the end of the 2020.
"The metering process has been slow due to situation in the state and due to resource constraints," the official added. The official said that PDD has projected installation of 1147723 meters from 2015 to 2019 in domestic and non-domestic categories. The official added, "We don't have an automated metered reading system. That is manual system in place. Sometimes, meter readers can make a mistake, since there is a human interference. In prepaid and smart meters, nobody needs to take reading and there is little room for any error."
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