Home Secretary reviews power sector reforms in UTs

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Srinagar, Jun 4 (PTI) Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Friday reviewed the progress of the rollout of 'smart metering' and power sector reforms in Union Territories, including Jammu and Kashmir.

Union Power Secretary Alok Kumar and chief secretaries of all Union Territories (UTs) participated in the meeting. Chief secretary Arun Kumar Mehta represented J&K in the meeting.

The Union Home Secretary observed that the 'Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme' which was announced by the Union Finance Minister in the Budget (FY 2021-22) focusses mainly on reforms in the sector. He underscored that the scheme aims to improve quality and reliability of power supply to consumers and ensure a financially and operationally efficient distribution sector. He said the thrust on smart metering is one of the distinguishing features of the scheme, adding that the smart metering is to be rolled out in mission mode in the UTs, which shall eventually become a model for the states.

At the outset, the Ministry of Power, gave a presentation on progress achieved on smart metering in the UTs.

It was informed that the places where smart meters have been installed in the country have experienced a considerable reduction in losses due to improvement in billing efficiency and collection efficiency.

It was proposed that the smart metering project in J&K shall be funded under Centrally Sponsored Schemes -- Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), and Prime Minister's Development Package (PMDP).

Remaining funds shall be arranged by the implementing agency RECPDCL under hybrid capex and opex model.

Giving a brief on the proposal for rollout of smart metering in J&K, Mehta said the government of Jammu and Kashmir would take up smart metering in mission mode. He said the UT government is committed to complete the said work within the stipulated time. He further informed that nearly two-thirds of the energy consumption of the UT was in urban areas and industrial towns and the same shall be prioritised in this mission.

Smart meters will bring about transparency in metering, billing and collection which will eventually reduce power losses and ensure quality and reliable power supply to consumers, an official spokesman said. The meters will be read remotely in Data Centre at Srinagar and Data Recovery Centre at Jammu through communication channels.

This will also facilitate the distribution corporations to know the status of power supply at consumers' end and take prompt action in case there is power interruption.

Consumers will know their consumption pattern and bill on a real-time basis, by which they will be in a position to manage load and reduce their monthly bill, the spokesman said. Since the complete cycle of meter reading and billing is automatic without human interface, the billing disputes will be eliminated, he added. PTI MIJ ABM ABM

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