The electricity department’s initial deadline of March 31 to replace all electromechanical meters with digital meters has been pushed to December this year.
The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation’s (Tangedco) decision to replace all electromechanical meters, which were installed many years ago, with digital meters, also called ‘static meters’, in the city was conceived of as an effort to plug its revenue losses.
There have been frequent complaints of faults in meter readings from domestic consumers. Apart from the revenue loss caused to Tangedco by faulty meters, domestic consumers have to run from pillar to post to get their old meters replaced.
Consumers, in certain cases, have also been penalised for faulty meter readings wherein the bill is calculated on the basis of average bi-monthly readings.
Tangedco has proposed to procure around 61,50,000 digital meters for the entire State, officials said.
A senior official at Tangedco, comparing electromechanical and digital meters, said the latter have better accuracy, fewer defects and do not suffer from wear-and-tear. Also, digital meters are procured only after being tested and approved by the Central Power Research Institute, Bangalore.
He added that in Chennai region, a total of 11.39 lakh electromechanical meters have been replaced with static meters to date. The official expressed optimism about the replacement of the remaining 25.87 lakh meters by the end of the year.
The official said, considering the proposal to automate the meter reading process using Low Power Radio Frequency (LPRF) technology, digital meters would be replaced throughout the State.
On the replacement of defective meters, an official said local officials have been instructed to ensure only tested meters are given to consumers.