Soon, consumers will have to pay first and then use power in Andhra Pradesh

A smart metering system unit installed in a building in Puducherry. The Andhra Pradesh Central Power Distribution Corporation Ltd. has decided to introduce, over the next two years, prepaid meters for domestic electricity consumption for its 55 lakh consumers. File photo used for representational purposes only.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Andhra Pradesh Electricity Department is rolling out a smart and prepaid metering system for all consumers as part of the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS), a Central Government-sponsored initiative.

J. Padma Janardhana Reddy, Chairman and Managing Director of Andhra Pradesh Central Power Distribution Corporation Ltd. (APCPDCL), told The Hindu that the deployment of prepaid meters would follow a phased approach, beginning with the government offices, followed by commercial establishments, and ultimately residential consumers.

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Mr. Reddy said that in the initial phase, the APCPDCL would procure 9.7 lakh smart and prepaid meters. Out of them, 4 lakh meters would be installed for domestic consumers and the remaining for the government offices and commercial establishments, he said.

Considering the corporation’s consumer base of over 55 lakh, all customers would receive these advanced meters over the course of the next couple of years.

Explaining the operational paradigm of these meters, Mr. Reddy said that it would be a fundamental shift. With the new system, the consumers would make a payment first and then utilise power.

He also highlighted the flexibility inherent in this model, enabling consumers to prepay for their anticipated electricity usage on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Moreover, if there was an unforeseen need for extra power consumption on a particular day, the consumers could promptly pay for the additional usage.

Mr. Reddy further said that once the funds in a consumer’s account were depleted, the meters would automatically disconnect the power supply.

“Once funds in a consumer’s account deplete, the meter will automatically disconnect power supply. But during certain periods, supply will continue. However, the consumers are required to settle the bill for the utilised units after the said period.”J. Padma Janardhana ReddyCMD of APCPDCL

This marks a departure from the conventional post-paid billing system.

However, the APCPDCL is introducing a concept called ‘happy days’, where power supply will remain uninterrupted even if the funds in a consumer’s billing account are exhausted.

During specific periods such as nights, peak hours, festivals, and holidays, the supply will continue, but the consumers are required to settle the bill for the utilised units after the said period.

Mr. Reddy explained that the department would charge ₹86 per month for 93 months from each consumer for installing these meters.

The APCPDCL commenced a survey for the smart metering system, which would be completed in a month, he added.