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Prepaid Smart Meters: Escoms must supply prepaid smart meters: Bengaluru industry associations demand pilot program | Bengaluru News_INSIGHT

Bengaluru: Objections have been pouring in to the draft rules on installation of ‘prepaid smart metering’ for all categories of consumers notified over a month ago by Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC).
In a fresh set of objections submitted to the regulatory authority, electricity supply companies (Escoms) have appealed to KERC to roll out the programme on a pilot basis rather than extending it to all consumers in one go.The industry associations have demanded thatEscoms be directed to provide smart meters rather than consumers buying them on their own.
Making submissions at a recent public hearing, representatives of Escoms urged KERC to launch the programme on a pilot basis in a particular jurisdiction under every Escom. “Installation of meters across Karnataka at once may trigger confusion. It could be taken up in a phased manner, beginning with a pilot programme in a similar way telecom companies roll out their services. A pilot will help us understand the drawbacks and work on those areas before extending the services to consumers across Karnataka,” said a senior engineer from Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation Limited, Mysuru.
Representing hotel associations, small-scale industries, Electronics City Industrial Township Authority (ELCITA) and other stakeholders, the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FKCCI) asked KERC to reconsider a few of the options notified in the draft rules.
MG Prabhakar, adviser, energy committee of FKCCI, said: “Our objection is to the ownership of meters. The draft rules allow consumers to buy their own meters provided they are tested, installed and sealed by the Escoms. However, Central Electricity Authority (CEA) regulations provide Escoms to fix meters with advanced technologies to avoid any mismatch in the technology or type of meters purchased by consumers.”
Another industry representative said: “…Rather than allowing consumers to buy meters from the open market, Escoms must supply them to consumers.”
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