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KSEB to introduce smart ‘prepaid’ meters – Mrit News

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Govt. institutions rank among the top defaulters of KSEB power bills

Govt. institutions rank among the top defaulters of KSEB power bills

Government departments will have to get used to paying promptly for power supply with the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) pushing ahead with its plans to equip consumers with smart meters featuring the prepayment mode.

As things stand, government-run institutions rank among the top defaulters on the KSEB’s power bill arrear list. ‘Prepaid’ meters, which require consumers to make advance payments for supply, are being introduced under the Centrally aided, national-level Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS).

Government consumers in the State will be equipped with smart prepayment meters in Phase I, under the present schedule. This category will require 1,65,095 meters in all, show KSEB data. The Central government, in its latest notification on smart meter roll-out, has directed States to complete the first stage by December 2023.

The State power utility has apprised the State government of the Centre’s directions regarding smart meter roll-out for all consumer categories by 2025 under the RDSS. The KSEB management has also urged the government to make a budgetary provision for guaranteeing timely payment by government consumers, Suresh Kumar, Director (Distribution), KSEB, says.

The prepaid metering system minimises inefficiencies in the collection of energy charges, according to the Centre. It also encourages consumers to tone down usage as supply would get cut once the remitted money is exhausted.

As of March 31, 2022, the KSEB was owed ₹2,358.4 crore (excluding arrears under dispute) by various categories of consumers, including households. State government departments owed ₹62.4 crore, State public sector undertakings ₹1,082.29 crore, public institutions ₹25.85 crore and local bodies ₹4.94 crore. Central government departments and Central PSUs together owed ₹66.22 crore. The Kerala Water Authority alone owed the KSEB ₹996.81 crore on March 31.

The KSEB is planning to install a little over 1.33 crore meters — for all consumer categories — by December 2025 at a cost of ₹8,175.05 crore. However, the KSEB also anticipates that the Centre is likely to extend deadlines given the magnitude of the exercise. The power utility had identified REC Power Development and Consultancy Ltd (RECPDCL) as the project implementation agency for smart metering in Kerala.

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