Former Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpai has raised serious questions over smart meters being installed across the state, as well as the state-wide anti-power theft raids being carried out by the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL).
These two campaigns, according to him, have created a trust deficit between the public and the electricity department.
In a letter sent to energy minister Shrikant Sharma on Thursday, Bajpai indicated that smart meters run faster than the electronic meters. “This has been found in many cases. After smart meters were installed, the consumers’ bill shot up by two and a half times on the same load and under the same circumstances that existed under the electronic meters,” he said and asked: “Is it fair?He said the UPPCL has been experimenting with meters, beginning with electronic meters, replacing one kind with another and now there was the plan to replace even smart meters with the prepaid ones. “This situation has naturally created suspicion in the minds of people,” he said and added that if the power department thought the electronic meter to be a thief, now the people view the smart meters to be a robber.
“It is, therefore, necessary to check at least 10 bills under each feeder, to see the monthly consumption with the electronic and the smart meters,” he suggested.Often innocent consumers were harassed in the name of checking of their meters. He said on the opening of suspected a meter, things that are pointed out to the consumers to prove tampering of the meters were too technical for them to comprehend.“The government should make experts available to poor consumers to represent them during the inspection of their meters in the same manner in which the poor litigants are provide free legal assistance in courts,” he suggested.
Power theft, Bajpai said, could not be justified but at the same time extortion of consumers in the name of checking of meters could not be justified either.[Courtesy:Hindustan Times, Lucknow ]