Prepaid energy meters for all in Uttar Pradesh soon
The UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) is expected to soon file a petition before the electricity regulator to seek its nod for the proposal in this regard in view of the Central government’s mounting pressure for prepaid metering in all the states, including UP.Updated: Aug 07, 2019 23:46 IST
The use of prepaid smart energy meters will be made compulsory in Uttar Pradesh to help discoms increase their cash flow and enable consumers to have a better control over consumption.
The UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) is expected to soon file a petition before the electricity regulator to seek its nod for the proposal in this regard in view of the Central government’s mounting pressure for prepaid metering in all the states, including UP.
“In compliance of the Centre’s directives we have a plan to mandate the use of smart prepaid meters for consumers of all categories in the state after the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) gives its approval for the proposal that will be sent to it soon,” UPPCL sources said.
Principal secretary, energy and UPPCL chairman, Alok Kumar has constituted a task force under the chairmanship of the UPPCL managing director. The task force that also comprises the UPPC directors, commercial and finance, will chalk out modalities to execute the plan.
As per the plan, the UPPCL will, in the first phase, install 4-G prepaid smart meters on all the power connections in all the 47 identified towns in the state with the help of the Energy Efficiency Service Ltd (EESL) after negotiating the rate with the agency.
“We will send a proposal to the Centre seeking requisite funds for installing smart prepaid meters in other cities,” sources said.
The UPPCL will also provide certain incentives to the existing postpaid consumers to encourage them to switch to the prepaid modes. There is a proposal to give the facility of paying their pending dues on the postpaid connection into installments after they switch to the prepaid mode and also waive the surcharge (interest) payable on the dues.
“The payment mechanism for the prepaid meters will also be simplified,” sources said.
The Centre had asked states last year to mandate smart prepaid meters from April, 2019 though for UP it will be a long haul.
The step, sources claimed, would transform the state’s power sector by way of reducing aggregate transmission and technical (AT&C) losses, improve financial health of discoms, incentivize energy conservation and rid discoms of all the rigmarole to get the meters red, print and send the bills to consumers who often complained of getting incorrect or inflated bills or getting no bills at all.
The UPPCL has around Rs 20,000 crore pending against government and private consumers and issuing bills to consumers and recovering the amount from them continues to be its big problem.
The prepaid meters, under which consumers have to buy electricity with advance payment, is being seen as a solution to the problem though prepaid metering system comes with own set of shortcomings and challenges.