Srinagar, Oct 26: The decision of the Power Department to install Smart Meters in Jammu and Srinagar cities from November 15 onwards could prove to be a game changer in the Union Territory.
Principal Secretary Power Development Department (PDD), Rohit Kansal recently chaired a meeting to review the centrally sponsored schemes and installation of smart meters in Jammu and Srinagar cities and it was decided that the process will commence soon.
An expert while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “The installation of smart meters would mean that the consumers will have to pay the electricity charges in advance. So chances of electricity theft will decline.”
He said, “This step can go a long way in filling the gap between the revenue which is generated and the losses incurred by the Power Department. This will also help in maintaining the electricity supply 24×7. The ball will be in the court of consumers instead of the Power Department.”
An analyst said, “There is no harm in installing the smart meters in Jammu and Srinagar cities but the government needs to bear in mind that the people in J&K are not that rich and if the electricity becomes expensive they will find it very difficult to manage. The Power Department has to ensure that the electricity which is provided to domestic consumers is not that expensive.”
He said, “People who are under the impression that cost of electricity will increase after the smart meters are installed are mistaken. Installation of prepaid meters will help them rationalize their electricity usage and would help the masses to use the electricity judiciously.”
An official of the Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (KPDCL) said, “All the aspects are being looked into but to streamline the power distribution system smart meters are a must. If people cooperate, they will themselves realize the change in the ground situation. The long awaited dream of Kashmir getting power supply like metropolitan cities will be fulfilled.”
He said, “People who are objecting to the smart metering project should realize that this is a bold step. Had this initiative been taken earlier by now power scenario in J&K would have been much better.”
An observer said, “The erstwhile political regimes in Jammu and Kashmir ignored the power sector. They kept on talking about getting the power projects back from the Centre and doing all sorts of things. But none of their proposals materialized. Despite J&K having huge hydro power potential nothing much was done to explore these resources.”