KSEB to introduce pre-paid meters

Centre envisages a shift to new metering system by March 2025

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) is preparing to introduce prepaid metering across different consumer categories in a phased manner.

The State power utility estimates that the replacement of all existing meters under the high tension/extra-high tension, low tension consumer categories and system metering will cost approximately ₹9,216 crore. The KSEB caters to 1.3 crore consumers.

Prepaid smart metering is a key component of the ‘reforms-based and results-linked’ Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) approved by the Union Cabinet for improving the efficiency and financial sustainability of State-run distribution companies. The Government of India envisages a shift to prepaid meters (excluding agricultural consumers) by March 2025.

The KSEB has decided to inform the Union Power Ministry that prepaid smart metering can be implemented in the State in multiple phases.

The KSEB proposes a four-phase roll-out of prepaid metering. The ₹1,123-crore first phase will cover 16 lakh consumers in the following categories: all consumers with a monthly average consumption above 200 units, HT/EHT consumers, government consumers up to block level, and system metering in the KSEB.

Phase II will cover 18 lakh LT consumers across all tariff groups and categories in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode cities at an estimated cost of around ₹1,264 crore. Around 32 lakh LT consumers in 60 towns under the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) will be covered in the ₹1,264 crore phase III. The remaining 64 lakh LT consumers will be covered in the final phase which is expected to cost ₹4,493 crore.

Support infrastructure such as billing modules, data management and data analytics will cost additionally.

The RDSS has an estimated outlay of ₹3,05,984 crore over a period of five years, where the grant component constitutes approximately ₹97,631 crore for distribution companies across the country. Out of this, the estimated outlay for prepaid smart metering is ₹1,50,000 crore for 25 crore meters at the national level, according to the KSEB.

Nearly 15% of the per metre cost, or a maximum of ₹900 taking ₹6,000 as the cost of a meter, will be borne by the Centre under the RDSS. The KSEB is yet to finalise how the remaining expense will be met.

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