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Advantage discoms

Discoms may have the last laugh in the inflated bills story. The ongoing meter-checking drive of the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) on the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (DERC) orders spells bad news for consumers, reports Avishek Dastidar.

delhi Updated: Nov 11, 2009 00:11 IST
Avishek Dastidar

Discoms may have the last laugh in the inflated bills story. The ongoing meter-checking drive of the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) on the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (DERC) orders spells bad news for consumers.

Of the 78 meters — over 50 per cent — checked so far, not a single one has been found faulty.

Recently, the DERC gave the CPRI 150 sample cases of inflated bills — some of the worst cases from the total lot of complaints — for meter-checking on the site.

This is as part of its verdict on this matter.

“We are checking around six to seven meters every day. We have not encountered any faulty meter so far. All the meters operate within the permissible margin of error as per on-site conditions,” said a senior CPRI official on the condition of anonymity.

“We have to submit a report to DERC by next month.”

Most of these cases are also of those consumers who suspected that their meters were either tampered with or ran faster than they should.

The “abnormal” inflation in bill amounts in these bills ranged up to 6,000 per cent.

BSES Rajdhani CEO Gopal Saxena said this was a victory.

“We have always been saying that our meters were not faulty and that whatever error occurred have long been corrected,” Saxena said. “There not a single case of unjustified inflation in bill amount.”

While the trend looks ominous for aggrieved consumers, the game is not over yet. The two BSES discoms are installing check-meters at all the complainants’ premises to monitor the real meters for five months.

Reacting to the development, Pankaj Aggarwal, general secretary of RWAs Joint Front, said that the meter-checking drive was a farce.

“We want independent bodies like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to be involved in the testing process.At this rate, whatever verdict CPRI comes up with will be anti-people.”

With meters testing negative for faults, consumers will get a shock by May next year, when they would be asked to pay up the “inflated bill” amounts.

“If it is proved that meters are not faulty then it means amount of power units mentioned in the bill is as good as indisputable,” said a senior DERC official on the condition of anonymity.