Bihar State Electricity Board directed to install prepayment meters


Patna, India — (METERING.COM) — December 20, 2010 – The Bihar State Electricity Board has been issued with a number of new directives by the Bihar State Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) aimed at reducing losses, including the installation of a prepaid metering system.

In the last full year for which data is available in 2008-09, the transmission and distribution losses totalled almost 38 percent.

The Board has been told that initially it may procure some prepaid meters after ensuring service facilities are available and to provide them to domestic consumers in a pilot study to encourage and make these consumers aware of the advantages of the prepaid meter facility. Subsequently the Board may suggest that consumers purchase prepaid meters at their own cost by offering a rebate, suggested at about 10 percent of their energy charges. There shall be no security for prepaid consumers.

The Board has also been directed when procuring new distribution transformers to obtain devices that are a minimum of two star rated – a system developed Bureau of Energy Efficiency rating the energy efficiency of the device – and to provide meters at the LV side of all existing distribution transformers within six months.

Further, the Board has been directed to take effective steps for demand side management. While the Commission is framing DSM regulation, which will be obligatory on the part of utilities in the state to implement, in the meantime the Board should start creating awareness, with a particular focus on reducing the T&D losses, improving the quality of supply, providing reactive compensation like capacitors, metering and billing, and CFL and LED lighting for domestic consumers.
In its tariff review the Commission noted that the directives issued in its tariff orders for the years 2006-07 and 2008-09 had not been fully implemented by the Bihar State Electricity Board and in particular the present high level of T&D loss is a matter of great concern

While the Board has taken action to replace 348,000 of the 400,000 single phase meters and about 14,400 of the 26,000 three phase meters available, the number of unmetered consumers has gone up from 880,000 in the year 2006-07 to 1.28 million at present. This is gross violation of the provision of Section 55 of Electricity Act, 2003 and this gives an impression that Board is not sincere on this issue of 100% metering which is benchmark for any utility for carrying distribution business.