The Power Development Department (PDD) has started to install the pre-paid electric meters beginning from two areas of Nishat and Rajbagh in Srinagar city to supply 24-hour electricity to consumers here.
The project though having received much hype was to roll out in April, but has only begun now. Officials said that an estimated 10 lakh prepaid electricity meters are to be installed and the government hopes to keep an abundant stock to meet with the demand of 24-hour power supply in Kashmir. The PDD will benefit by cutting down on Transmission and Distribution (T&D) losses due to pilferage.
Earlier the department had started the process of installation of electronic meters to control pilferage in 2005. However, so far the department has only been able to meter 42 percent of the 9.65 lakh consumers in Kashmir.
According to a Power Development Department (PDD) official, of the 9.65 lakh registered consumers in Kashmir, only 3.99 lakh are metered.
Chief Engineer PDD, Kashmir, Hashmat Qazi said the pre-paid meters would streamline electricity consumption.
“ It will be entirely up to the consumers how much money they want to spend for using the electricity,” Qazi said.
Sources said the pre-paid metering was to start from April this year. Earlier in August last year, the government had outsourced the project to Rural Electricity Corporation Power Distribution Company Limited (RECPDCL).
As part of the agreement, the company was to procure and install 9.25 lakh electronic prepaid meters in the rural and urban areas of the State, sanctioned under various schemes at an estimated cost of Rs 282.15 crore. The numbers have gone up now.
Sources said the government has already paid Rs 132 crore to the company for the first phase in which around 2.25 lakh meters will be installed. The project is likely to be completed in four to five months.
The process of installation of pre-paid meters has started in Nishat, Rajbagh area of Srinagar, and soon the Power Development Department (PDD) would initiate it in the old city also.
As per the agreement, RECPDCL would undertake operation and maintenance services for the meters in rural and urban areas, at an estimated cost of Rs 44.53 crore.
The company would also manage meter reading and bill generation in rural and urban areas at an estimated cost of Rs 61.32 crore.