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news details
Govt mulls installation of smart metres
Old ones dented exchequer
2/7/2019 10:35:42 PM
Ishtiyaq Ahmad
Early Times Report
Srinagar, Jan 7: With government mulling to install smart electricity metres, the authorities have failed to take any action against officials responsible for procurement of poor quality metres several years ago, which caused a huge loss to the state exchequer.
Government has outsourced the project for installation of around 10 lakh prepaid, smart electricity meters in the state to Rural Electricity Corpora-tion Power Distribution Company Limited (RECPDCL).
The project assigned to the private firm costs over Rs 400 crore. An official of the Power Development Department (PDD) said prepaid meters would 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 official said they would also reduce the role of field staff.
"They will give accurate information and will be connected to centralized system," the official said. The government started the installation of meters over a decade ago.
"Some of the already existed meters developed faults and technical snags and there are always chances of errors," the official said.
The Power Development Department has also admitted to the State Electricity Regulatory Commission of having procured "poor quality" 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 had mentioned in a petition submitted with the SERC.
The PDD has been facing hurdles in installing metres in several areas due to public resentment resulting the department had missed several deadlines of 100 percent metering.
"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."
However, he ruled our privitisation of electricity. "We have outsourced metering. If someone has to install a meter and pole, it is to be done by a contractor," he added.
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