Applications for new connections pending with section offices range from 40 to 150. While 120 applications are pending with the Palluruthy section, the number is 40 under Vypeen section, sources said.
The wait for consumers seeking replacement of faulty meters in their houses or business establishments is much higher. Many of them are made to wait for over six months after registering complaints. There are 10,000-15,000 applications for replacing faulty meters in the city and the number is 5,000 in the Paravoor area. Though KSEB officials said a single phase electricity meter is available for Rs 1,000, shops are charging Rs 1,500 and above.
"Consumers have the choice to purchase meter from the open market but it should be tested by the board or electrical inspectorate," said an official. However, many consumers are apprehensive of purchasing it from the open market fearing possibilities of damage in future. "I had submitted application for replacing the faulty meter in my shop almost six months ago but they are yet to replace it. Now I have been told to purchase it from the open market but on my own risk. I will have to spend money again if it gets damaged," said Benny, who runs a hotel at Kaloor.
KSEB chief engineer (distribution) V V Sathyarajan, however, claimed that the shortage had not affected the process of giving new connections. "They are being given connection within a month of submitting application," he said.
Interestingly, builders in the city are procuring electricity meters from outside for their apartment projects in order to save time. "All of us are purchasing meters from the market and using it in our projects after certified by the board," said Noel Builders managing director John Thomas.
A senior official said the board had given an order for 16 lakh electricity meters after floating tenders but had to stop it after receiving eight lakh owing to a vigilance enquiry.