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Transmitter route to read meter

Bhubaneswar, May 4: To ensure better power load management and easier meter reading, Central Electricity Supply Utility (Cesu) has introduced radio frequency system on a pilot basis in the city.

The scheme is being carried out on a pilot basis at AG Colony here.

“A Cesu personnel has to visit each house to take meter readings. If people are not at home, the person had to return without taking the reading. At times, the reading of certain households cannot be taken for months together,” said Cesu executive engineer U.B. Khadenga.

Under the pilot scheme, meters of every household are fitted with transmitters and the billing machine is equipped with a receiver.

“This receiver can access metres of all households within a 50-metre radius. Under the new system, we can take readings of nearly 100 households from a single point,” said a Cesu official.

Besides, the radio frequency meter system will help Cesu ascertain the exact load of an area.

“Most people have a 1KW connection. But they are installing two air-conditioners and this leads to overload. Once we know the exact power load of an area, appropriate transformers would be installed and there will be no power cuts,” said Cesu public relations officer G.B. Sahu, adding the system would also help in checking power theft.

While Cesu officials are excited about the pilot scheme, a section of local residents have opposed the idea.

“I am not comfortable with my meter being read without my knowledge. I wouldn’t know if they were billing me right,” said Ramesh Mohapatra, a consumer.

Cesu is planning to install nearly 400 transformers to overcome power cuts. The power facility had recently revamped all 25 of its old sub-stations across the city to minimise breakdown incidents during summer.

“Construction of three sub-stations, including one near the airport, will enable Cesu to ensure uninterrupted power supply across the city,” said an official. Transmission and distribution (T&D) loss in Cesu because of power theft hovers around 32 per cent. Sources said one per cent T&D loss costs Rs 80 crore to the power sector. Distribution companies in Odisha are facing the highest levels of T&D loss in the country, which is estimated at Rs 1,760 crore a year.

Energy department officials said attempts had been made to check power theft through an awareness campaign.

“The Bijli Didi campaign has been launched to make people aware of the need for power conservation, help check power theft and pay bills on time,” said the official.

In another move to reduce power theft, the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission has asked the power distribution companies to introduce smart cards on a pilot basis from March next year.

“The smart card is like a pre-paid metre. The consumers will be given a monthly voucher to use power. The user will also get SMSes on the remaining balance in the last week of each month. Once the voucher limit is exhausted, the power supply will automatically be disconnected.”