The GSM-SIM enabled device (see picture) is connected to the DJB’s central server. A meter reader can operate it only after getting a password and biometric authentication.
The DJB is hoping that such measures will check errant meter readers.
“When the reader reaches a consumer’s premise, he enters the current meter reading. As this device is connected to the central server, within two minutes, it will generate a bill and yield a printout on impact printer,” said a senior DJB official.
The bill is generated within minutes, as the reading entered by the meter reader is updated real time at the server. The system can also send an SMS to a consumer’s cell phone number if registered with the DJB.
In case of a locked premise, the meter reader will leave a message with contact number. Later, the consumer can revert to the meter reader. “From the next billing cycle, the meter reader will also collect bills on the spot and issue a receipt immediately,” the official said.
The DJB has decided to deploy 100 hand-held devices and has kept 150 others ready. “A decision for using the rest would be taken only after the review of these 100. We need to look at the meter reader’s performance and consumers’ response,” said Debashree Mukherjee, DJB CEO.