KOCHI: Electricity meters developing faults resulting in excess billing on power tariff is a frequent complaint of consumers. The solution is the installation of smart meters, with a system similar to the prepaid/postpaid mobile phone connections.
The Cochin Smart Mission is in the process of installing smart meters in the city for KSEB. In the pilot phase, 26,000 such devices will be installed in division numbers 1, 5, 62, 66 and 67 under the Kochi corporation. The project is expected to be completed within a month. According to an officer with the Smart Mission, there will not be any change in the power tariff even when the existing meter is changed.
“The consumer will be able to know the bill without the help of KSEB’s meter reader. Under the current system, meter readers visit houses and hand over the bill after taking the reading,” the officer said.
Smart meters can be connected to smartphones of consumers through an app. “It will also help consumers know about voltage fluctuations and thereby resolve issues related to billing and usage,” the officer pointed out. More importantly, consumers will be able to control the consumption of electricity. They will be billed only for the units consumed. It will help people plan electricity usage according to their budgets.
“If the meter becomes faulty, consumers will be alerted on their mobile phones. He will also get a warning signal on his mobile phone if there is an overload in supply. The same alert will be signalled through the phone if someone tries to damage the meter,” the officer said. The smart meter and the mobile app will also help address consumers’ grievances as they will be able to interact with the KSEB staff through the app.
“As the smart meter gives an exact reading, the issues related to average billing (the billing system where the average reading of the consumer is taken if the existing meter is faulty) can be avoided. Consumers will also get clarifications on their doubts on slabs used to calculate power tariff,” the officer added.
The smart meters installed by Smart Mission will be connected to the Integrated Command and Control Centre which will further enhance transparency.