An initiative by Mahavitaran to introduce prepaid meters for homes will enable households to purchase electricity through prepaid cards

It must be annoying, when you receive an incorrect bill or have your electricity line cut-off by authorities due to non-payment of bills or when your line has been cut, because you have been away from home for long periods. Fear no more.

Meter by meter: 5,000 prepaid meters will be installed in Mumbai over
the next few months.
PIC/Saurabh Katkurwar

State-government owned power distribution utility 'Mahavitaran', (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd) has come up with a novel idea of installing a 'prepaid electric meter' in homes. The meter can be recharged, like mobile top-ups.

The recharge coupon will be in the form of a card which has to be inserted in the meter to recharge it and will have to be recharged again after the prepaid amount decreases.

The initiative will be implemented for the first time in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and 5,000 prepaid meters will be installed in the next few months. "We have started installation of 2,500 prepaid meters in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai and will start installing meters in Thane area in the next few days. Once we receive a favorable response, we will give prepaid meter connections to all new customers," said Satish Kapase, Chief Engineer Bhandup division, Mahavitaran.

Mahavitaran has already installed around 20 meters in last two days in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, where residents have welcomed the initiative. Sunil Kasare, resident of Kharghar, said "I have just installed the prepaid meter in my home and it will be helpful in saving electricity. Now, I can check my daily usage of electricity."

Subhash Rathod, deputy executive engineer, Mahavitaran said, "The Customer Interface Unit (CIU) will be connected to the prepaid electric meter with a cable. If the prepaid amount gets to Rs 100, the buzzer in the CIU unit will go off and electric supply will be stopped.

"If our customers replace their existing electric meter with a prepaid meter, most of their inconveniences will be sorted out. Customers need not stand in long queues to pay their electricity bills every month. Also, the issue of incorrect amount in the bills will be solved, as the customers themselves will recharge the prepaid meter and will be able to keep a track of their usage. We will not charge a single rupee from the customers for the installation of prepaid meters. In addition, a five per cent discount will be given on a recharge of Rs 500," added Kapase.

Also on the anvil, an online recharge service, where meters can be recharged by a debit card.