Staff Reporter

RWAs seek option for consumers to choose the type of meter

Power Secretary meets members of residents' welfare associations13 lakh meters `unnecessarily' changed at a cost of Rs. 250 croresConsumers demand reinstallation of original meters

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Government is planning a slew of measures to improve the power supply and distribution system in the Capital. Under the plan, a consumer forum would be formed to take the views of the public, transformer-wise energy audit would be done, Central Industrial Security Force would be deployed to check thefts and all bulbs replaced by energy-efficient ones.

All these measures were announced by Delhi Power Secretary R.K. Mehta at a meeting with representatives of the Delhi Residents' Welfare Associations Joint Front. Front's secretary Pankaj Agarwal said that during the meeting agitated members had raised issues pertaining to power cuts, fast running meters and the inability of the Delhi Government and Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission to check alleged manipulation by the distribution companies. Also, they had taken up the issue of complex tariff determination process and the need for greater accountability of the discoms.

Mr Aggarwal said it was pointed out that the current tariff determination process -- in which annual revenue requirement (ARR) reports running into thousands of pages are filed by the discoms along with Delhi Transco Limited and Genco -- makes it difficult for the consumers and RWA to properly analyse them and file objections.

The residents demanded that the consumers be given an option to choose between the new electronic meter and the ISI-marked electro-mechanical meter. Also, it was stressed that the discoms be made to take the responsibility for detecting and removing the so-called defects of wiring, earth, leakage and neutral, which have cropped up after the electronic meters were fitted. This would help in curbing exaggerated and erroneous billing for energy not received or consumed by the consumers because of which the consumers are being compelled to pay much more than what they are actually consuming.

Charging that 13 lakh meters have been unnecessarily changed at a cost of Rs. 250 crores, after an impression was created that the move was mandatory, the Front said consumers were receiving inflated bills through these meters and as such the original meters should be reinstalled.

Demanding that excess amounts billed be refunded, the consumers sought a probe into why the electro-mechanical meters were replaced in the first place. They also noted that the High Court had in its judgment on December 14, 2005, criticised the Centre and the Central Electricity Authority for not specifying rules for measurement of energy and meters.

The residents wondered how Chinese meters, which have not been approved by BIS/ISI, had been installed by BSES in Delhi. They sought a probe into the independent testing of meters that the discom claimed to be doing.

As for the electricity tariff, they said it should be decided on the basis of cost of procurement plus reasonable distribution cost. As against the average cost of procurement of Rs.1.93 per unit, the average selling rate per unit is as high as Rs.4.50 and so it has been demanded that the selling price should not exceed Rs.2.60 per unit. As for the over-achievement in reduction of losses being claimed by discoms, the consumers said it was incorrect and was only due to the excess money collected from fast-running meters. Overall, they said, the situation now was no better than it was in the pre-privatisation days.