Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) Correspondent’s Report
The Central Government, in collaboration with the State Governments, has launched a campaign to install prepaid smart meters for electricity supply to consumers across the country. After installation of prepaid smart meter, the consumer has to charge the meter by filling money, just like a mobile phone. When its balance becomes zero, the power supply automatically shuts off.
That is, first pay money for using electricity, only then you can use it!
Bihar’s consumers had a bitter experience of prepaid smart meter on April 12 when suddenly more than 13,000 houses lost power. The balance of these consumers had suddenly gone negative, due to which the power was cut off. Those who had Rs 641 in their prepaid account, their balance was showing minus Rs 10,143. This kind of playing with the supply of an essential service like electricity is inhuman.
The big capitalists of the country like Tata, Adani, Jindal, Goenka, Torrent, who are demanding privatization of electricity distribution, are behind the prepaid smart meter campaign. They want the government to solve the problem of electricity bill collection by installing prepaid smart meters before they take over power distribution.
Once a prepaid smart meter is installed, the entire expenditure on bill collection is saved for the distribution company. There is no cost to cut off the power. On the contrary, the advance money is received before the power is supplied!
Domestic and foreign monopoly companies are also making profits by supplying prepaid smart meters. The cost of installing prepaid smart meter, too, is recovered from the consumer.
The worst impact of prepaid smart meters will be on farmers, small consumers, essential services like hospitals, schools, municipalities, water supply, who will have to spend money first for electricity use. Subsidy on all types of electricity will end.
It is clear that the government’s initiative of prepaid smart meter is an anti-people move which should be opposed by all electricity consumers and workers.