BMC to make periodic audit mandatory to curb water meter tampering
The proposal has been brought after the civic body found large scale tampering of the meters by the residential societies to manipulate reading for lower bills
Mumbai: In order to check the tampering with the water meters causing losses to the civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has proposed to make mechanical audits of meters ‘mandatory’ after five years of installation.
The proposal has been brought after the civic body found large scale tampering of the meters by the residential societies to manipulate reading for lower bills.
The BMC has also proposed that it will be replacing the current mechanical meters with upgraded electromagnetic meters, which come with the lifespan of over 10 years, to prevent tampering.
According to the proposal, the BMC has mandated compulsory mechanical audit of the private water supply meters that are installed in the residential buildings and commercial establishments five years after the date of installation of the meter. The daily water usage of properties and establishments are recorded through these meters, following which the civic body levies a charge to the users in the form of a water supply tax.
“The management body of a housing society or establishment will have to compulsorily carry out an audit of these meters after five years. If the meter is found to be faulty then it should be replaced immediately by the residential society at their expenses. If the meter is found to be in a functional condition and the owners of the property, they will have to submit a report of structural audit of the meter every year,” the proposal stated.
At present, there is no such clause of carrying out regular audits of water meters and that a meter could be used by the owners as long as it is in working condition.
“Many times, the users recalibrate the meters to manipulate the usage amount so that lower charges are levied on them. Therefore, we have brought this clause of carrying out audits of the meters on a regular basis,” said a civic official.
The officials also maintained that if a property owner is found tampering with the meter, then an additional penalty will be levied on them. The officials said that the audits will be carried out by BMC appointed experts which will clearly understand if a meter has a history of tampering during the process.
“Many users who manipulated their meters claim that the water charges levied by BMC are not actual. These cases later go to court and the BMC fails to recover the outstanding amount,” said the official. The cost of a water meter varies between ₹11,000 to ₹70,000 depending on the capacity.
The BMC has also proposed to amend one more existing clause. In case a water meter gets stolen then the owners will have to pay BMC a penalty that will be calculated as per the depreciation value of the meter and the duration of its usage.
For example, if a meter gets stolen after one year after its date of installation, then the owners will have to pay a penalty amount which would be 10% lesser than the actual cost of the meter. Similarly, if a meter gets stolen after three years, then the value of depreciation would be 30% less than the cost of the meter and incase a meter gets stolen after ten or more years since its usage then the owners will not have to pay any charges but only the scrap value ( ₹280). However, the clause also says that if a meter gets stolen within a year, then the owner will have to pay the full amount of the meter in terms of penalty.
“Earlier the owner of the societies had to pay the entire amount of the meter as a penalty to BMC irrespective of when it got stolen. Due to which there were several dispute cases. These new clauses will encourage citizens to replace their meters at the earliest and will also allow us to recover the outstanding amounts,” said the official.