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Arunachal gives nod to pre-paid meters

 ITANAGAR, Jan 21 – The Arunachal Pradesh Government has given a go ahead to the Power department to complete installation of pre-paid electric meters in the State capital as scheduled despite stiff opposition from various organisations.

Consumers in the State capital have opposed the Rs 84.34 crore pilot project and even damaged such meters in various colonies alleging that the charge of monthly electric bills have been drastically increased after installation of the new metering system.

“The State Government has directed the department to install such meters first at Raj Bhawan and bungalows of Chief Minister, Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, MLAs and top officials before installing at common people’s residences,” Government spokesman Bamang Felix said while talking to reporters here on Monday.

He said, the State Cabinet in its meeting on Sunday chaired by Chief Minister Nabam Tuki also decided to implement Electricity Act 2003 in the State.

“The government appealed to people not to obstruct the department officials while performing duties and anyone found doing so will face action as per the relevant laws,” he said, adding, consumers should not believe in rumours and wrong propaganda and they should contact the department for any clarifications and misgivings.

On the new system, Felix clarified that the project was launched in accordance with the Centre’s directive to bring down the Aggregate Technical & Commercial Losses (AT&C) as low as possible.

“The State Power department has given commitment to the Centre to bring AT&C losses down to 30 per cent which is mandatory and reduction of such losses is the goal and compulsory criteria to sanction schemes under power distribution and transmission system,” he said.

The project is part of the integrated power development scheme, he said.

Stating that AT&C losses in the State amount to above 60 per cent, Felix informed that the State capital consumed 30 per cent of total State’s power consumption and had more than 70 per cent unmetered consumers, which, amount to low average billing.

He said the pilot project was launched to achieve cent per cent metering in the capital through pre-paid and automatic meter reading (AMR) meters to check revenue pilferage, maximum revenue collection and to reduce AT&C losses to a national permissible limit.

“The government has to follow the directives of the Arunachal Pradesh State Electricity Regulatory Commission (APSERC) tariff order 2014-15, Arunachal Pradesh Supply Code 2013 and Central Electricity Authority Regulations 2006 for adoption of new technologies,” he said.

On the positive impact of the project after installation of around 1500 meters in the capital, Felix informed that the overall power demand of the State capital had reduced by 1.4 mw while on an average each consumer was reducing load by 1 kw approximately.

“Quality of power supply in some sectors have drastically improved where pre-paid meters have been installed and consumers are satisfied with the new system which is consumer friendly in nature,” he disclosed.

He said, after complete installation of over 12,000 such meters, the overall demand of the capital would be reduced by 50 per cent of the present demand and quality of power would be improved with no loadshedding.

Replying to media query regarding high rate of Rs 4 per unit, Power Commissioner Kaling Tayeng who was also present, informed that the department would file petition soon with the APSERC for consideration of the power tariff.

He, however, said that electricity tariff in the State was in line with other Northeastern States. – PTI

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