New Delhi: Smart metering helps loss-making power distribution units to curb tariff overdues. Under the Smart Meter National Programme 25 crore conventional meters will be replaced with smart meters. The Central Government has issued a notification directing all the State electricity boards to mandatorily implement the first stage of the prepaid smart meter facility installation before December 31, 2023.
All the government offices above the level of block panchayat offices, and industrial and commercial consumers will have to switch over to the pre-paid meters before the said deadline.
The prepaid meters will be installed in the electric divisions where the revenue loss is 15 percent in urban areas and 25 percent in rural areas.
For agricultural connections, there is no time frame fixed for its implementation.
All consumers will have to switch over to the new mode strictly by December 31, 2025.
The States will be given 15-22 percent subsidy for the project. A special subsidy of 33 percent will be given to the States which desperately need additional help.
The State regulatory commissions are only empowered to give a maximum of two extensions of time for the project implementation after the deadline. But two consecutive extensions of time within six month will not be allowed.
Four-stage shift in Kerala
Kerala has 1.3 crore power consumers. The installation of new meters is planned in four stages. During the first stage, 37 lakh consumers will be covered.
Companies may charge Rs 6,000 for installation of the prepaid meter and for the maintenance of it for 10 years. But a smart meter may be available for Rs 2,500-3,500.
In another development, the Kochi Smart City gave 16,000 prepaid meter connections. The Kerala State Electricity Board Limited had no role in it.