Shortage of electricty meters in authorised outlets cited as major reason despite an order allowing consumers to buy meters from firms listed by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO).

A shortage of electricity meters has been plaguing the city for several months now, leaving consumers harassed and irked. Despite an order allowing consumers to buy meters from firms listed by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO), the situation has not improved, as now the dealers claim that the equipment is out of stock.

For two months, seventy-year-old P. K. G. Menon had to shuttle from his home in Kamarajapuram in Pattabiram to Royapettah in order to get electricity meters. He only managed to get them a few days ago.

“I booked three meters two months ago. I had to travel from Pattabiram to Royapettah in the intense heat, but was still not able to get the equipment. Finally, I got the first two meters on June 15. For the third one, they asked me to come back again later. After a series of calls, I got the third one on June 29. The entire process was really exhausting, especially because of the travel involved,” said Mr. Menon.

After the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) passed an order in March this year, TANGEDCO allowed consumers to buy meters from firms listed by them. However, the equipment has to be sent to TANGEDCO for testing first, and only then it can be fixed. Initially, this order delighted consumers, as it was meant to benefit them. But now, consumers say, it is causing them inconvenience.

Consumer activist T. Sadagopan also faced problems before he finally got a meter last week. “I have been trying to purchase the meter for the last two months. Every time I approached the authorised shop in Royapettah, the staff there kept telling the equipment was out of stock. On June 6, I finally booked the meter after paying Rs. 1,260 and I got the equipment last Friday,” he said.

Mr. Sadagopan said that some years ago, consumers were permitted to buy meters on their own. “Then we could purchase meters with the ISI mark on them from any shop. Now one can purchase them from authorised outlets alone,” he said.

Roy Rozario, general secretary of non-governmental organisation People’s Voice, has also been trying to purchase a meter, but his efforts have been in vain so far. “When I went to the listed shop on Moore Street in Broadway, they asked me to provide my phone number so they could send me an SMS of the date on which I could book the equipment. After booking, I have to wait another ten days to get it,” said Mr. Rozario. He added that the TANGEDCO should not permit bulk booking of meters. “They should allow only individual bookings.”

A TANGEDCO release also said that orders have been placed for 13.5 lakh single-phase meters and 1.18 lakh three-phase meters. Of these, 1.25 lakh single-phase meters and 30,000 three phase metres had already arrived.

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