PSPCL rapped for 5.5 lakh meters off the premises
TARIFF ORDER Power regulator directs the corporation to file a compliance report by Sept 30; also flags use of electro-mechanical meters in violation of regulations of the central electricity authority
CHANDIGARH The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has given the Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL) a rap on its knuckles for failing to shift as many as 5.47 lakh electricity meters outside the premises of the consumers.
The regulator has asked the corporation to file a compliance report by September 30.
In its tariff order for the financial year 2020-21 announced on June 1, the power regulator noted that the meters on the consumers’ premises were prone to tampering and they are one of the contributing factors for distribution losses.
In its tariff order issued last year, the commission had given the PSPCL the November 26 deadline to shift all the meters out to the pillar boxes or the poles outside the consumers’ premises.
As per the PSPCL figures, the state has nearly 92 lakh power connections of which 13.5 lakh are of agriculture tubewells and 70 lakh are domestic. The rest are in the industrial and commercial sectors.
From January 1 to December 1, 2019, 1.25 lakh electro-mechanical meters were shifted out in the state under the integrated power development scheme, Deen Dayal Upadhayay Gramin Jyoti Yojana and restructured accelerated power development and reforms programme.
In an undertaking given to the PSERC before finalisation of the annual tariff, the corporation had assured that work of shifting meters will be completed by March 2020, but details on this are awaited. The process of shifting of meters out of the consumers’ premises started in 2007 on pilot project basis and losses were brought down from up to 80% to 12 %.
Bhupinder Singh, a retired deputy chief engineer of PSPCL, said he led the pilot project in 2007 and on its basis a loan of ₹2,500 was sanctioned by the rural electrification corporation to start shifting of meters across the state. “Until 2012, the programme was carried at a good pace but it lost steam in 2013-14,” he said.
“We are shifting meters in a phased manner. There is resistance from the consumers to new meters in some areas. We hope to complete the process soon,” said PSPCL director (distribution) DIPS Grewal.
4.36 LAKH METERS NEED REPLACEMENT
As many as 4.36 lakh meters fitted with outdated electro-mechanical technology are also waiting to be replaced with electronic meters. The electro-mechanical meters are still in use in violation of the metering regulations of the central electricity authority and the state power regulator. “The utilities in other parts of the country are contemplating smart metering but the PSPCL is still continuing with obsolete technology of electro-mechanical meters,” said the power tariff of June 1.