BEST smart meters must be deployed faster, say committee members

The slow deployment of smart electricity meters by BEST can prove to be detrimental to the business in the long run. Out of a total target of 10.5 lakh of consumers, BEST has only installed smart meters for around 3 lakh since 2017. While the Minister of Finance talks about eliminating the monopoly in distribution companies, this delay could occur. ‘prove detrimental for BEST in a context of increasing competition, believe the members of the BEST committee.

Since 2017, BEST company began to replace ordinary meters with smart meters capable of capturing every unit consumed and providing more accurate consumption data. “The administration has barely replaced 3 lakh meters with smart meters. In addition, their services to consumers need to be improved,” said Anil Kokil, BEST committee member.

These smart meters have only been installed in relatively high-end companies and buildings in a few districts of BMC. “The administration is very slow to replace these old meters. At this rate, competition will make it difficult for BEST to supply electricity, ”said Sunil Ganacharya, BEST committee member. “Now, the Center having clearly indicated that it is necessary to eliminate the monopoly in the distribution sector, the BEST must intensify its work”.

BEST supplies around 800 MW of electricity to its 10.5 lakh consumers. However, the underground cables are also old and replacement work is underway.

In her budget speech, the Minister of Finance said that electricity distribution companies in India are currently monopolies, whether public or private. A framework will be put in place to give consumers alternatives to choose from more than one distribution company. The concept of allowing more than one distribution company to provide electricity for an area has been tested in a few cities, including Mumbai, under open access.

“The process is not easy as it will require a change in the law and various permissions are required,” said an electrical expert.

Another problem is the loan burden for the business, despite the fact that it has received grants from BMC in the past. Sources said the amount of interest on the loan exceeded 700 crore rupees while the funds taken from the civic body were used to repay part of the payment and to pay the bills of Tata Power, with whom she spoke. a power purchase agreement.

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Posted on: Wednesday February 03, 2021 08:15 IST

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