Meters to be must for irrigation pumpsets

Last Updated 21 October 2013, 19:28 IST

Installation of meters for all types of electricity consumers, including those using irrigation pumpsets, is set to become compulsory.

The Centre is contemplating bringing a new law that is aimed at making loss-making state-owned power distribution companies financially viable.

The Model State Electricity Distribution Responsibility Bill, being finalised by the Union Ministry of Power, says that 100 per cent metering should be achieved by state governments within three years of enactment of the bill.

Besides, states have to set up special courts to settlecases of power theft within a year of legislation coming into force.

States like Karnataka, where a large number of agriculture pumpsets are not metered, have to install meters, and every unit of electricity supplied to consumers would be accounted for, a senior official from the ministry told Deccan Herald.

Earlier, the Karnataka government had informed the Planning Commission that of the 22 lakh pumpsets in the state, around 17 lakh were not metered.

The proposed bill has a slew of measures in the areas of long-term planning, consumer protection, regulatory compliance and financial restructuring.

“The objective of the bill is to make the state governments responsible for ensuring financial and operational turnaround and long-term sustainability of state-owned power distribution licensees, in order to enable adequate and affordable electricity supply to consumers,” an official from the power ministry told Deccan Herald.

The bill says the distribution licensee would have to increase collection efficiency by 1.5 per cent a year if it is between 95 per cent to 99 per cent, by 3 per cent if between 90 per cent and 95 per cent and by 5 per cent if between 80 per cent and 90 per cent.

The bill envisages that state governments would submit the electricity distribution management statement, on the measures taken in relation to distribution, in each financial year during the budget session.

Further, state governments are expected to lay down key performance indicators with regard to payment of dues by government departments and institutions to reduce distribution loss, as well as provisioning of subsidy, energy accounting and auditing, and improvement in bill collection efficiency.

Union Minister of State for Power Jyotiraditya Scindia, in a recent meeting with state energy ministers, sought their comments on the bill.

(Published 21 October 2013, 19:28 IST)

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