The Power Development Department (PDD) will soon install “pre-paid” and “smart” electricity meters to control energy consumption and check power pilferage in Jammu and Kashmir. Pre-paid meters will be installed at a mass level while the smart ones will be installed on pilot basis in both regions of the state.

A top engineer of the PDD, who is part of the projects to install the new meters, told Kashmir Reader that the new meters will be installed where meters are not there, mostly in rural areas, in both Jammu and Kashmir regions.

“We have seen that old meters have not been able to gather energy consumption data accurately. The new meters will be more efficient and accurate,” the engineer said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “Both the meters will minimise the role of field staff of PDD, who in some cases connive with consumers to pilfer electricity. It is a major reason for loss of revenue to the state.”

“We in total need 18 lakh meters, but we had only 9 lakh. We have now issued tenders to procure 9 lakh new meters, seven lakh of them would be pre-paid and two lakh smart meters. These meters will be installed soon. The tendering process is in the last stage,” the PDD engineer said.

He said the pre-paid meters will have to be recharged just like a pre-paid mobile phone number. The meter will stop functioning once the electricity consumed exceeds the amount for which the recharge has been done. Consumers will be given a card through which they can recharge the meters.

The engineer said that the smart meters, which will also be having pre-paid facility, will be connected to a centralised system from where the power consumption would be monitored.

“This will tell us about the power consumption pattern of a consumer and will restrict a consumer from unruly use of energy. They will also replace the system of traditional billing which in case of pre-paid ones will be replaced by a card and in smart ones by a card as well as mobile,” he said.

“The smart meters in addition will be updated about the pattern of usage of energy, payment of bill amount, and other relevant information through the consumer’s cell phone,” he added.

Kashmir was introduced to electric meters on a large scale in the year 2006, a move that most of the population resisted. However, the department managed to install electric meters in half of the registered connections, but 9 lakh houses still remained out of the net. 

The new installation process will fill the gap and complete the metering of the entire state.