Smart meter pilot project in Kala Amb fails to meet expectations, raises concerns for larger implementation

Shimla: The Electricity Board Employees Union has raised concerns about the tender process for smart meters and submitted a letter to Harikesh Meena, Managing Director of Electricity Board. The union alleges that the electricity board restarted the tender process for smart meters on April 10, despite objections. According to the union, while the central government will provide Rs 360 crore for the implementation of the scheme, the electricity board will have to bear the burden of Rs 2,240 crore from its own funds. This additional expenditure is expected to increase the financial strain on the electricity board.

The union argues that the state’s plan to install 100 per cent smart meters is unnecessary at present. Citing a failed pilot project in Kala Amb in 2017, which cost Rs 40 crore, the union claims that the smart meter implementation is being carried out in a public-private partnership (PPP) mode and will result in losses not only for consumers but also for the electricity board and its employees in the long run. While the state government will receive financial assistance of Rs 1350 crore, the cost of purchasing and installing meters in people’s homes is expected to exceed this amount, possibly reaching up to Rs 2600 crore.

Heera Lal Verma, the General Secretary of the union, warns of protests if action is not taken to address the issue. He further emphasizes that the demands of the employees need to be considered.

The opposition from the Electricity Board Employees Union adds to the ongoing debate surrounding the implementation of smart meters in the state. While the government aims to modernize the electricity distribution system with smart meters, concerns have been raised about the financial burden it may impose on the electricity board and consumers alike. The outcome of this dispute will likely have significant implications for the future of the smart meter rollout in the state.