In a major policy reversal, the Kerala State Electricity Board Limited has decided to resume the purchase and sales of electrical meters to be supplied to consumers.
The board, during the last UDF government period, had decided to do away with the meter business and introduced a new mechanism enabling consumers to purchase electric meters directly from the meter companies empanelled by the board.
According to sources, the board's latest decision comes following widespread complaints from consumers that procurement of meter has become a laborious task.
As per the present mechanism, empanelled meter companies have set shops at 25 electric circle offices spread across 14 districts in the state. If a consumer needs to replace his faulty electric meter, he/she had to first get a letter from the assistant engineer of the KSEB section office concerned and the same should be produced at the meter sales outlet at the electric circle office for making a purchase. Since there are only up to three electrical circles in each district, there were complaints that consumers often have to travel long distance to procure an electric meter.
Sources said the board has already given orders for purchase of one lakh electric meters and the same is expected to be delivered before Onam season. "The board would be purchasing one lakh meters at first and 15 lakh units later, both through tenders. Once the board restarts the sale of meters, consumers can purchase them from the electrical sections. However, meter sale counters of empanelled companies would continue to exist," KSEB officials said.
As per electricity board statistics, seven to eight lakh electric meters in the state are faulty. However, unofficial statistics indicate that the number would be more than 12 lakh. Ever since the meter purchase has become the responsibility of the consumer, meter replacement has becOme a herculean and time consuming task for public.