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APDCL eyeing pre-paid meters to cut losses

Pilot project to be initiated in Jorhat, gaon, Badarpur, Bongaigaon & Rangia circles, move will help reduce losses due to power theft and non-payment of bills: Pallab Lochan Das

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 22: The Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) is planning to make installation of pre-paid meters mandatory for all categories of power consumers in the State.

The move, besides ebling consumers to be economical and judicious while using power, will also help the APDCL deal with incidence of non-payment of power bills by post-paid customers and power theft.

Minister of State for Power Pallab Lochan Das told reporters here on Tuesday that a pilot project towards this end would be implemented in five towns in the State. Under the pilot project, the APDCL will install pre-paid meters in all residential, commercial and industrial areas under its Jorhat, gaon, Badarpur, Bongaigaon and Rangia circles.

“If the pilot project clicks in preventing wastage of electricity and garnering more revenue from power bills, the APDCL might go for making installation of pre-paid meters mandatory for all its consumers,” Das said.

A pre-paid meter contains a monitor where the consumer can check his or her power consumption, and the monitor will give a warning to show consumption limit and the time to go for recharge.

The APDCL had introduced the pre-paid metering system in 2008 and 15,000 consumers are currently using pre-paid meters. At present, a pre-paid consumer pays Rs 4,500 and another Rs 1,000 for initial recharge. Later, he can go for recharge vouchers starting from Rs 200 to as much as he requires.

In 2012, the APDCL had made pre-paid meters mandatory for new flats in Guwahati.

The minister said power theft is one of the prime reasons for losses being incurred by APDCL. He said mandatory introduction of pre-paid meters would help preventing power thefts in the State to a large extent.

Interestingly, Dispur itself is yet to pay a power bill to the tune of Rs 110 crores to the APDCL. Das claimed that since the BJP-led government assumed power in Assam, the power scerio has improved considerably and several measures are being initiated to prevent loss of power due to technical, commercial and other reasons.

The APDCL is currently facing losses to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore. Sources said the APDCL meter reading has several flaws and it is one of the areas which need to be looked into seriously by the power company.

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Ankur Kalita