Power tariff for retail consumers could come down as the Union Power Ministry has written to all States, including Tamil Nadu and Union Territories, to move towards prepaid smart meters which could help bring down cost of electricity.
It directed distribution companies to approach the State Electricity Regulatory Commission to reduce tariff for prepaid meter-based consumers in six months. “In case of prepayment, the carrying costs will come down, leading to reduced requirement of working capital for such companies. This will also eliminate associated costs involved in meter reading, billing and collection,” it said.
The Ministry’s direction followed the Budget announcement of converting all conventional electricity meters into prepaid smart meters in next three years so as to provide consumers a choice of service providers and reduced rate of electricity.
A senior Tangedco official said that domestic consumers in TN were enjoying subsidised power supply while other States have done away with it. “The cost of power could be reduced only if we do away with subsidy,” the official said, adding, conversion of smart meters would require huge investment. “We will install 1.5 lakh smart meters at T Nagar as part of the smart city project,” the official noted.