The Government is going to make pre-paid meters compulsory for all households in three years. They would start rolling out pre-paid meters from April 2019. The motive behind this move is to stop illegal connections as well as give the customers relief from month to month bill payment.
This initiative by the Ministry of Power (MoP) is expected to reduce the aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses. This move also aims at improving the financial health of distribution companies (DISCOMs), incentivize energy conservation, and make bill payments hassle-free by becoming digital. Manufacturing of smart prepaid meters will also generate skilled employment for the youth. The cost of the smart meter is too high and the main challenge is to reduce it as soon as possible.
State governments had earlier signed the Power for All document. They have also agreed to supply power round the clock to their consumers. If the company fails to do, they would have to pay the penalty.
Under this, “the distribution licensee shall provide 24×7 power to their consumers by 1st April 2019 or earlier. However the appropriate Commission in exceptional circumstances for the reasons to be recorded in writing may grant extension in this time period,” the statement added.
The motive behind the smart meters is quite appealing. The biggest challenge it faces is that the number of connections hasn’t reached its saturation. It means that electricity is still not available to every household. Moreover, the 24-hours electricity target is still quite distant. The government should also take care of these challenges and work on this technology simultaneously.