Around 57,000 smart electricity meter users in Kashmir will have to pay electric bills in prepaid mode, starting in June, replacing the present practice of paying tariffs at the end of the month.
The power tariff amount would need to be recharged in advance before the beginning of the month, much like a prepaid recharge for cellular services, according to officials with Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited.
As a result, all smart power meters would become prepaid starting in June. Chief Engineer of KPDCL Javid Yusuf Dar told KIF that the Union Power Ministry’s regulations require that the present postpaid bill scheme be changed to a prepaid one.
“Since there won’t be a postpaid billing option available, the approximately 57,000 smart power metres we have placed here will convert automatically to prepaid status. Smart meter users will need to pay their May electricity tariff bills before it goes into effect in June, and we will provide them with a short window of time to make their June upfront payment. KPDCL will launch a comprehensive media campaign in the coming days to inform customers about this change before it becomes effective,” he said.
On how pre-paid smart meters operate, the chief engineer said, “If a household uses Rs 3500 worth of electricity each month, they will receive a bill in this price range. They can prepay the money and will receive updates on their usage by SMS and SmartBS App. We won’t cut off service, as cellular providers do, in the event that the recharged amount is used up. Instead, we’ll provide the customer with a grace period during which they can replenish their account and continue to get electricity.”
He said that only smart meter users in Kashmir would be allowed to use the prepaid billing option. “In the coming days, we will cover all areas under smart metering, but it will take some time,” Dar said.
Meanwhile, KPDCL also tweeted from its official handle: “KPDCL proudly announces the successful rolling out of smart prepaid metering of one of its officer’s residential consumer ID. The meter has been ported to prepaid by him through SmartBS App and successfully recharged.”
KPDCL plans to install 100 percent of smart meters within the next two years.
According to officials, installing smart meters has been going on for a while, with the main objective being to guarantee consumers a consistent supply of electricity.
With the help of the SmartBS application on their smartphones, users can keep an eye on their usage and bills while the metres allow for correct invoicing, excellent voltage, and efficiency.
The user may simply monitor their power usage from their phone and schedule their usage appropriately to keep their bills in check.
While there was initial opposition to the installation process, officials said that as the advantages of smart metres became clear, more people began to embrace the technology.