Scrap smart meters and manpower agency tenders, demand Tangedco trade unions
Design Build Finance Own Operate Transfer (DBFOOT) model to be installed for all the low-tension, except agriculture and huts, and high-tension consumers.
CHENNAI: The Joint Action Council of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board Trade Unions has urged the Tangedco CMD Rajesh Lakhani to cancel the smart meter tenders under the Design Build Finance Own Operate Transfer (DBFOOT) model as it violates their workload agreement.
Tangedco has floated tenders to install 3.3 crore smart metres under the Design Build Finance Own Operate Transfer (DBFOOT) model to be installed for all the low-tension, except agriculture and huts, and high-tension consumers.
Under the DBFOOT model, the contractor would be responsible for procurement, installation and maintenance of the smart meters and the Tangedco would pay the rent for a specific period of time.
In the representation to the Tangedco CMD, the JAC comprising 15 trade unions including AIADMK's Anna Thozhir Sangam, CITU-affiliated COTEE and HMS said that the floating of tender to procure and fix smart meters in the distribution circles violates the workload agreement and provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act. "Hence we demand scrapping of the tender, " it said.
The JAC, in another representation, strongly opposed the tenders floated to appoint workers at the section office through the manpower agencies. Tenders were floated for appointing four workers each in 14 section offices, it said.
CITU-affiliated Central Organisation of Tamil Nadu Electricity Employees general secretary D Rajendran urged Tangedco to scrap its smart metres project taking cue from Kerala as it is an attempt to bring private players in the power distribution.
"The state government thinks that installation of smart meters would do away with the assessors visiting each premises to take meter readings physically and accurate assessment of energy consumption. But the smart meters installation would only bring a bad name to the government as it is a failure everywhere, " he said.
Rajendran said that the centre has amended the Electricity (Rights of Consumer) Rules 2023 to mandate the installation of smart meters before April 1, 2025.
"The centre plans to bring the private companies in the distribution and smart meters would be converted into pre-paid meters, " he said, adding how would the subsidy be paid to consumers.
As of now, domestic consumers get the first 100 units free, free energy supply to agriculture consumers and subsidised supply to handlooms and power looms.
As per the centre scheme, the consumer has to pay rent for smart meters, he said, adding if Tangedco accepts to pay it on behalf of consumers, it would only add to the financial burden.
"If consumers are asked to pay rent, it will be an additional burden for the consumers, " he said. He demanded that Tangedco scrap the smart meter plan like Kerala.