On an average more than 3,000 electrical meters per month are found either stuck or burnt within the city limits
The prominent complaint about digital electrical meters when they were first introduced in the city was that they showed more units than consumed. While it still holds true in some cases, what many consumers miss is the fact that thousands of meters get either stuck or burnt on a monthly basis.
Reasons might be many, but on an average more than 3,000 electrical meters per month are found either stuck or burnt within the limits of the city, which falls under the Metro Zone of CPDCL.
The total of stuck and burnt meters in the Metro Zone went beyond 37,000 for the financial year ending March 2013, with major share of it coming from the North Circle, incidentally housing most VIPs and VVIPs of the town.
The number of meters stuck was very high when compared to the meters burnt, with the former forming about 90 per cent of the total. This might hint at the low quality of the digital meters procured, because once stuck, the meters cannot be repaired.
“Loss of display is the sign of a digital meter getting stuck. It has to be replaced with a new meter, as it cannot be repaired,” says a Divisional Engineer.
He says there are many reasons for the meters getting stuck, which include meddling by outsiders, and environmental causes. Digital meters are also very sensitive to environment, and cannot withstand excessive heat, he reasons out.
Burnt meters, on the other hand, mostly point to overloading of house-wiring.
If a consumer goes on adding power appliances without paying heed to contracted loads, there is every chance of meters getting burnt, officials say.
Making consumers responsible for the same, the company charges them in most cases of burnt meters. For a three-phase 5KW domestic connection, the consumer is charged Rs. 5,000, along with security deposit of Rs. 200 and registration fee of Rs.25.
Most consumers do not know the technicalities behind contracted loads, and actual loads, and end up with heavy loads on the system. Once a meter is found either stuck or burnt, it is removed and sent to the lab, and previous three months’ average is taken for billing the consumer for the ongoing month.
However, officials admit, that there are cases when the consumer colludes with the private meter reader, so that lesser reading is taken every month. Once the gap between the billed units and actual units grows to unmanageable figures, the meters are deliberately burnt, they allege.