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5,000 people get notices for tampering with energy meters,replacement project on hold

The power utility decided to replace the old energy meters that had been manually operated with new ones that used Radio Frequency (RF) and Infra Red (IR) technologies.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Published: December 11, 2013 2:55:16 am

Worried over instances of technology being misused to jam the newly installed Radio Frequency (RF) meters,the MSEDCL has now put on hold its project of replacing the old energy meters. Though 1.13 lakh energy meters have been replaced with the smart ones,MSEDCL has decided to send notices to 5,000 consumers after their survey revealed that their meters had been tampered with.

The power utility decided to replace the old energy meters that had been manually operated with new ones that used Radio Frequency (RF) and Infra Red (IR) technologies.

While 3.03 lakh RF meters had been sent for Pune zone,so far,a total of 1.12 lakh have been installed.

Chief Engineer of the Pune zone of MSEDCL Neelkanth Wadekar told The Indian Express,that a total of 17,000 RF meters were installed in Pimpri division,13,000 in Bhosari division,23,000 in Parvati division and 12,000 in Padmavati division.

However,now,with reports of meter tampering,the power utility has put on hold the installation till the RF meters are fitted with a new chip by the manufacturing companies.

A chip will now be installed in the RF meter so that any attempt at tampering will in fact speed it up and the consumer may face a hefty bill instead.

Across the state,50,000 consumers have been sent notices regarding meter tampering after several incidents were reported from Jalgaon,Parbhani,Akola,Aurangabad and other places.

The IR meters are meant for the rural areas while RF meters were planned for the urban areas and another 11 lakh meters have yet to be received by the Pune zone to replace all the existing energy meters.

MSEDCL is the first power utility in the country to implement this project on a large scale so that the new RF and IR meters provide accurate meter readings and the expedite the process of generating power bills. The readings are taken through a hand held device (which is attached to a computer that generates the bills).

The meter reader’s unit will be able to record the readings of all the meters located one after another within 30 meters and it will take only five to seven seconds to record one reading.

For instance,in case a meter is not functional for 24 hours,then it will immediately alert the server. So much so that if a consumer’s meter has not been functional for some part of the day,the meter will detect it.

Those who switch off meters using switches also can be tracked. The project was being implemented across the state when utility officials detected incidents of persons using remote to jam the meters.

“We found that some consumers had zero amounts on their power bills and hence after investigation,found that the RF meters were being tampered with,” Wadekar said.

In Pune zone,notices have been sent to 5,000 consumers to submit details of their previous bills. Generally,regular consumption of electricity should not vary by a large margin and so our teams will visit the homes to find if consumers were really at home or out of station. We are waiting for their replies,” Wadekar said.

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