MSEDCL to first install smart prepaid meters at its offices, staff quarters - Hindustan Times
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MSEDCL to first install smart prepaid meters at its offices, staff quarters

Jun 08, 2024 07:40 AM IST

MSEDCL has decided to first install smart prepaid meters at its offices and staff quarters before replicating the process elsewhere

PUNE: After the Maharashtra Electricity Consumers’ Association objected to the installation of smart prepaid meters, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has decided to first install these meters in its offices and staff quarters before replicating the process elsewhere. The installation will begin next week, and the MSEDCL will offer both prepaid and postpaid options to consumers.

MSEDCL has decided to first install smart prepaid meters at its offices and staff quarters before replicating the process elsewhere. ((PIC FOR REPRESENTATION))
MSEDCL has decided to first install smart prepaid meters at its offices and staff quarters before replicating the process elsewhere. ((PIC FOR REPRESENTATION))

Chairman and managing director (CMD), MSEDCL, Lokesh Chandra, last week instructed that the smart prepaid meters be first installed at the MSEDCL offices and staff residences. He felt that MSEDCL should lead by example.

So far, 341 smart meters have been installed at the MSEDCL offices and staff quarters in Nagpur; 146 smart meters at the MSEDCL offices and staff quarters in Gondia; 30 at the offices and staff quarters in Wardha; 10 at the offices and staff quarters in Bhandara; and 95 at the offices and staff quarters in Chandrapur.

However, the Pune Circle is yet to install smart prepaid meters. In the Pune Circle, there are a total 320 staff quarters and 250 offices of the MSEDCL. The Pune Circle has now announced that the installation work will begin next week as the model code of conduct (MCC) has been lifted effective June 6.

Rajendra Pawar, chief engineer, Pune Circle of the MSEDCL, said, “Last week, we held a meeting with the contractor. He has completed the survey and has decided to start installing smart meters from next week. We are going to install meters at MSEDCL offices and staff quarters. Thereafter, we will begin installing for consumers.”

“At present, the MSEDCL has kept two options - prepaid and postpaid - for consumers. After some time, MSEDCL may decide to keep only the prepaid option. These smart meters use modern digital technology, ensuring accurate electricity usage records. Consumers can track their usage on their mobile phones. Unlike conventional meters, which can give incorrect readings and delayed bills, smart meters provide accurate, transparent billing. They will solve billing issues and are essential for today’s needs,” Pawar said.

Meanwhile, before starting the installation of smart meters for consumers, Pratap Hogde, president of the Maharashtra Electricity Consumers’ Association, warned of a mass movement against the installation of smart prepaid meters saying they will heavily burden electricity consumers.

Hogde said, “Under the central government’s ‘Improved Distribution Area Scheme’, there is a 60% subsidy for new infrastructure and strengthening of existing facilities like poles, lines, feeders, switches, sub-stations, cables, and capacitor boxes. However, under the ‘National Smart Grid Mission’, there is a subsidy of only 900 per meter for general consumers.”

“Based on this and a central government order, the MSEDCL has approved tenders. The MSEDCL has falsely advertised that meters will be free for customers. In reality, excluding the subsidy, the remaining 25,000 crore will be requested by the company in its electricity rate petition. After the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) approval, electricity prices will likely increase. Starting April 1, 2025, consumers will face an increase of at least 30 paise per unit. We appeal to all electricity consumers, industrial organisations, social service organisations, and political parties to unite against this,” Hogde said.

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