MSEWF decides to oppose Smart Meters

 

Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent

On 13th March 2024, the Maharashtra State Electricity Workers’ Federation (MSEWF) organized a Zoom meeting on the subject “Smart Meters – Myth and Reality”. They invited Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) to make the presentation. More than 75 office bearers of MSEWF from across Maharashtra participated in the zoom meeting.

The KEC presentation highlighted main features of the Smart Meter scheme. It exposed false propaganda of the Maharashtra government that the scheme is not being forced on to it, by pointing out that Central Government has launched a Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) amounting to 3,03,758 crore rupees which makes it mandatory for state governments to install Smart Meters if they want a part of the RDSS funds.

The presentation also exposed many myths being spread by those who want to promote Smart Meters. One myth being spread is that if Smart Meters are installed then it will reduce the head ache of distribution sector workers who are responsible for bill collection. The presentation pointed out that if Smart Meters are installed actually thousands of distribution sector workers would lose their jobs.

Another myth being spread is that the expense for Smart Meters will not be charged to consumers. The presentation pointed out that the money will either be charged to consumers over long period in instalments or will be borne by the government, which in any case is people’s money.

Another myth being spread is that installing Smart Meters will help reduce Transmission and Distribution losses. The presentation pointed out that to reduce losses completely different actions are required like replacing very old transformer/ sub-station set ups, very old wiring etc. The presentation also pointed out that Smart Meters are essentially pre-paid meters whose main purpose is to remove the biggest practical hurdle for speedy privatization of electricity distribution i.e. bill collection overdue bills. After installation of Smart Meters, consumers will be forced to pay in advance just like in the case of pre-paid mobiles, and their power will get automatically disconnected after the pre-paid amount is consumed.

The presentation thus clarified that Smart Meters are against the interests of both power sector workers and power consumers. We must forge a strong unity of both workers and consumers and fight against them. We should unitedly give a call that “Electricity is one of the fundamental essential commodities needed by every human being and hence it should be the primary responsibility of the government to ensure supply of adequate and good quality electricity to everybody at affordable prices. Privatization and profiteering hence should never be allowed in this sector”.

The meeting helped MSEWF to take a firm stand against Smart Meters.

 

 

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