Pre-paid power meter on govt`s mind to enhance commercial prospect : source

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IMPHAL, May 19: With the objective to enhance operational and commercial aspects of the department, the state electricity department will be introducing the implementation of pre-paid metering system as a first phase project in Imphal very soon.
According to an official source, the state government has approved the installation of a single phase and three phases keypad pre-payment meters and vending/transaction service in Imphal areas as the state government is seriously concerned over the report that the aggregate Transmission and Commercial (AT&C) losses of the state electricity department, is about 70% during 2010-11 which is alarmingly higher than the national average of just 40%, which has affected the performances of the department in the operational and commercial aspect.
Considering the accumulating commercial lost by the department the very new scheme for the installation of single phase and three phases keypad pre-payment meters and vending/transaction service in Imphal areas was adopted by the state government, the source stated.
It further mentioned that, the department is undertaking various schemes under Central Sponsored Schemes and State plan to improve the transmission and distribution (Technical) losses to about 20%.
Whereas, in order to reduce the present commercial losses to about 50% the department has undertaken implementation of pre-paid metering system as a first phase project in Imphal and necessary order have been issued for installation of 14,00 and 4,000 numbers of  single phase and three phases pre-paid meters with an estimated total cost of Rs.18.05 crores.
The official source further mentioned that the department is highly expecting full benefits from the soon to be implemented project as it will eliminate the existing billing system, ascertain 100% surety  on recovery of money owned (debt), no cost involved in billing printing and its distribution, no cost involved in chasing for payment of collection, and for  disconnection etc.
The official source also mentioned that the new project will deliver better load management in distribution systems in terms of load based and time based besides there will be creation of better customer relationship management by reducing customer complaints, increased consumer consciousness on energy saving/conservation.
The source also mentioned that, the installation of the pre-paid meters in the proposed projected area will help in resolving the issues like tempering/by passing of meters, under collection of revenue, theft energy, under billing, late serving of electric bills etc.
It may be mentioned that, utilization of power in the state is recorded at 209 MU Energy annually with a corresponding expenditure of Rs.52 crores on purchase of energy, with only energy worth around Rs 15.60 crores realized as revenue from the power sector, considering the 70% aggregate Transmission and Commercial losses.
The source further added that the state has been bearing anticipated increase in commercial losses of annual revenue of Rs.26 crores.In the meantime realizing the potentials of prepaid metering system in reducing the abnormally high Aggregate Transmission and Commercial losses in the proposed areas, the state government has considered for the adoption of meter rent for providing the conventional energy meter to cover a portion of the cost of the meters from the consumers.
The prevailing applicable meter charge are Rs. 5 and Rs. 10 for single and three phase energy meters per month respectively. In case of pre-paid meters, considering its costs of Rs.7698 and Rs.18,204 for single and three phase meters and a life of 15 years the approximate recoverable meter rent would be Rs.42 and Rs.101 per month respectively which are very high as compared to the present meter rent.
In order to encourage the successful introduction of the pre-paid meters and in view of the additional revenue of Rs.26 crores the administrative department has adopted the meter rent at Rs.20 and Rs.40 per month for single and three phase, so that the remaining portion of the meter cost is borne by the  government.
The official source further mentioned that, the Administrative department has also considered the proposal of the department on 5% discount on energy charges for pre-paid consumers on the ground that 100% revenue is deposited in advance before actual consumption of the energy. The system will also eliminate the conventional billing system resulting in total reduction of overhead/labour charges related with the meter reading, preparation and distribution of the bills etc.
The source also mentioned that the newly proposed scheme will provide facilities to the consumers in terms of Vend Transaction Charges which may be borne by the state government as loading the charge to the consumers will not be justifiable for the successful implementation of the scheme, the official source added.

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