In what could bring relief to consumers complaining about defective meters leading to inflated bills, the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has approved six private companies to test energy meters of consumers in Ludhiana.Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) Ludhiana Circle chief engineer Rachpal Singh said six companies approved by the PSERC were from Kolkata, Bengaluru, Udaipur, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Pune. These meter testing laboratories are accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration, he added.
The move came as PSERC had been receiving loads of complaints from consumers, who claimed that defective electricity meters were not being tested by PSPCL laboratories, and hence they were being charged hefty bills.
The decision is also aimed at alleviating PSPCL's work load, as the corporation has been reeling under staff shortage, leading to dissatisfied consumers.
As per norms, the PSPCL should check the energy meters once a year, but due to staff shortage, meters don't get checked for years together; at least, not until they face a problem.
Kunal Sharma, a resident of Singhpura, said, "This is a good step by PSERC, as PSPCL didn't pay heed to the complaints of consumers regarding fault in meter speed. But now with third party companies testing the meters, hopefully things will fall in place."
Firm's details to be displayed at all offices
The PSERC has instructed the PSPCL to display information regarding private companies for meter checking at all sub-division and division offices.
The information includes the name of the companies, along with their address, email address and phone numbers. Through this information, consumers wishing to get their meters checked can directly contact the firms.
The cost incurred in checking of the meters will be borne by the consumers. The report of these companies will be considered as valid and will also be included in the annual data.
Rachpal Singh said, "We will display all necessary information at all centres for public awareness."