Inflated power bills and faulty meters were some of the biggest issues raised by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ahead of the assembly elections in Delhi.
The AAP manifesto had promised cheaper electricity and when Arvind Kejriwal was sworn in as the chief minister in January, his government introduced a scheme to test at least 10,000 meters for free.
However, according to the power department, only 56 applications for meter testing have been received so far.
“The scheme was launched on January 10 and lasted for a month. However, as the response from the public was very poor, we extended the scheme till February 28. Despite the extension, we managed to get only 56 applications. There were days we didn’t receive a single application, so stopped the scheme and will ensure the 56 applicants get their meters tested,” said a senior official at the power department.
Sources in the department said that they had initially planned to get the meters tested at Delhi Technical University (DTU), but considering the poor response it would become a very expensive affair to get the meters tested by the institute.
“They will have to buy all the equipment. Had we received thousands of applications, we could have got the meters tested from them at a cheaper rate,” said the official.
As per the scheme, power consumers were asked to send an application to the deputy commissioner of their area asking for a free check to be conducted by the power department. An independent third party then had to test the meters.
For many years now, resident welfare associations (RWAs) had been running a campaign against faulty meters. The AAP government pitched this initiative to bring the issue to public notice and this drive was meant to put an end to residents’ concerns.
Back in 2005, a similar testing drive for electronic meters was launched by the power regulator that went on a year.
The results showed that the meters installed by the power distribution companies were functioning well within the limits stipulated by the Indian Electricity Rules, 1956.