The Planning Commission on Thursday stressed upon the need for power distribution utilities to work towards expanding electricity metering in rural India in order to make supply of power viable.

Speaking at the Metering India 2013 seminar organized by Indian Electrical & Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA), Planning Commission Advisor (Energy), B. K. Chaturvedi said it was important for metering to do well in the country as the entire value chain of the power sector depends on realisation of dues from consumers. There is a need for expansion of metering in the rural areas. “Even relatively developed States like Andhra Pradesh don’t have metering in rural areas,” he added.

“In the absence of universal metering, power theft and system inefficiencies are debited to rural consumers. Recently we had a programme with World Bank where they suggested us various measures and strategies to expand the reach of meters in the rural areas,” he said.

Further, Mr. Chaturvedi said that as per NSSO data 2009, access to electricity in rural areas was between 65 per cent and 75 per cent nationwide. However, according to the Census in 2011, power access in rural areas was even less at about 55 per cent. In this programme, World Bank also stressed on the need of meters in the rural India to develop the industry with a greater pace,” he said.

Mr. Chaturvedi said in order to encourage judicious use of power, the government should also look at separate tariff for electricity consumed during peak hours. “There should be a difference in peak hour (time when usage of electricity is maximum) and off peak hour tariff. Unless there is a difference people would not be able to use electricity judiciously,” he remarked.

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