THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Are you in the habit of filling fuel for an odd amount to escape from ‘tweaked’ meters at fuel stations? There is no scientific ground for this “precaution” and the propagators of this theory are clueless on the dispensing system at a pump, according to the legal metrology department. According to the department, each nozzle at a pump has a metering unit which is calibrated and sealed by its officers in the presence of representatives of the oil company that supplies fuel there.
“The calibration is done for five litres. That is, the dispenser is calibrated to deliver five litres of petrol or diesel in 30 seconds. It will be 10 litres for one minute. There is little scope for fraud after calibration,” said an officer who did not want to be named.
He said that a section of customers opt for odd amounts as they guess the system is solely based on a digital setting. “There is no scientific or technological basis for this assumption. It works on the principle of linearity. If you have calibrated the meter for five litres per 30 seconds, one-fifth of this volume would be dispensed when you demand one litre. It is not possible to adjust the machine for an erratic delivery for round figures like Rs 100 whereas correct volumes would be dispensed for odd amounts like Rs 110 or Rs 125,” he said.
Thus fraud is possible only if the machine is calibrated for the wrong volume. This is an impractical fraud because all stakeholders - officers of Legal Metrology, oil company and pump - have to collude for this. Still, if it happens, erratic delivery will occur for all amounts, be it round or odd figures.
The calibration of the dispenser is OTP-based. The OTPs received on the mobile phones of the sales officer, territory manager and general manager of the oil company are to be validated for calibration. The metrology department also stamps the totaliser unit that displays the total volume of fuel dispensed through a metering unit. This will help the department to check whether the sales are proportional to the stock.