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Steps to tackle faulty meters

Staff Reporter

DERC works out a strategy to change fast-running meters at consumers' premises

NEW DELHI: After having initially washed its hands of any role in redressing the grievances of power consumers in the Capital, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has now come out with a strategy on fast-running meters and is changing them at the premises of consumers.

However, it has not come clear on why old meters should be changed in the first place if they are working fine.

The virtual revolt by the "Bhagidars", including the residents' welfare associations, non-government organisations and citizens' groups, has shaken the Delhi Government. It has been accused of speaking out only for the private power distribution companies and not taking up the cause of the lakhs of harassed consumers. For its part, the Delhi Government has now turned the heat on the DERC to put in place an action plan to check the rising complaints of fast running meters and inflated bills.

Initially the DERC announced that it would carry out such an inspection programme for three months -- only to retract later that it was not obliged to undertake any such exercise as it did not fall within the Government domain.

However, with pressure from the citizens and the Congress party mounting with each passing day, DERC has come out with certain clarifications on the issue of fast-running meters and Earth Leakage Detection (ELD), something that it should have done nearly three years ago when the power distribution process in the Capital was privatised. However, the new guidelines are silent on the issue of changing the meters that are in a proper working condition.

In a public notice issued on do's and don'ts for changing meters, the DERC has stated that taking note of the sentiments of power consumers, particularly with regard to the fast running electronic meters, it is working out a separate initiative for independent meter testing with the Association of Accredited Laboratories and the Bureau of Indian Standards. It said the details of the scheme would be announced shortly. The DERC would also hold workshops on electronic meters with RWAs and other consumer groups periodically to educate them on meter related issues.

According to the new approved procedure, meter change should be carried out in the presence of registered consumers or current occupants of the premises. All the raw material for installation of the meters would be brought by the meter changing team and proper sealing of the terminal box should be ensured after installation.

After installation of a new meter if it is observed that Earth Leakage Detection (red light) is flashing, indicating some leakage in the internal wiring of the consumer, immediate action should be taken to get the wiring checked to remove this leakage. Also, the meter should be tested for at least one kW with an optical scanner for counting of pulses and revolutions. The testing team has to carry external load of appropriate rating of 1 kW to 3 kW.

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