Disconnecting supply by remote control
A committee of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has asked that power distribution companies (discoms) switch to ‘smart’ technology for remote disconncection or reconnection of supply to any consumer. Such technology is readily available; with it, one does not need a lineman to go and physically switch on or off the power. With ‘smart’ meters, a conusmer defaulting on a bill would simply have the supply disconnected through, in effect, remote control. The same thing would be done if the meter is tampered; the meter can be automatically programmed to do so. The recommendations have come form a panel chaired by the Central Electricity Authority chairman, A S Bakshi, himself. It was appointed by the Union power ministry in December last year. The report was given recently, after reviewing the functional specifications of low-cost single-phase smart meters, framed by an earlier committee. Given the way it changes the rules in a basic manner, the Bakshi panel suggests as awareness campaign for consumers be done before before these smart meters with the facility of remote connect/disconnect are installed at consumer premises. “This will be a major step for further modernisation of consumer service in the electricity sector. This will allow automatic control over consumer meters and force greater accountability,” said Shantanu Dixit, member, energy group, at Prayas, a Pune-based non-government body.