PUDUCHERRY: You have heard about prepaid sim cards for mobile phones. How about prepaid electricity meters? Government departments here that conveniently forget to pay their monthly power bill could actually have the new meters starting April next, if a proposal of the Puducherry Electricity Department (PED) gains traction.
The idea originated at a conference of Ministers for Power and New and Renewable Energy of states and Union Territories convened by Union Minister Raj Kumar Singh in New Delhi on December 7. The actionable proposal will be reviewed soon, Puducherry Power Minister R Kamalakannan told The New Indian Express. As per the proposal, the existing metres would be replaced by prepaid metres in all government departments, local bodies, public sector undertakings, quasi government offices and offices of statutory organisations, D Ravi, superintending engineer I, head, PED said.
It is meant to prevent further accumulation of arrears from government departments that currently stand at `218.4 crore, pending from two to five years, out of total arrears of `321.40 crore. While `17 crore is pending from industries, `26 crore is pending from commercial consumers and `60 crore is stuck in litigation.
Each government office would have to assess its requirement of power and recharge the meter with prepaid cards. Once the balance is used up, the power connection would automatically snap. The recharge can be done online on a monthly, quarterly or half-yearly basis, depending on their fund position.
The prepaid meter scheme was proposed by Raj Kumar Singh, who asked states to introduce them in rural households. However, the PED felt the meters would work better in government offices as they do in states like UP and Delhi.