The Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) has issued an expression of interest (EoI) from National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited electric meter testing laboratories for empanelment by GERC as independent third-party meter testing laboratory in the state. The deadline to submit EoI is April 20, 2019.
Interested meter testing laboratories must submit a technical proposal with a valid accreditation letter from the NABL for meter testing. They are also required to submit a schedule of charges for single phase and three phase meters, testing of CT/PT units, the number of such meters tested during the past five years, independent third-party meter testing accreditation of other state electricity regulatory commissions. Current Transformers (CT) are generally used for current measurement, and potential transformers (PT) are used for voltage measurement.
The state commission is of the view that there is a need to have third-party electric meter testing facilities in Gujarat to protect the interests of consumers. So far, the GERC has empaneled three NABL accredited laboratories situated at Gandhinagar, Vadodara, and Udaipur as third-party meter testing facilities.
When contacted, a GERC official said, “A large number of people will be added to the grid, and therefore a vast number of energy meters need to be installed. With huge demand, there arises a need for testing centers and facilities, and this is why we have come up with this notice.”
“It will become much more convenient for consumers to get their meters checked,” added the GERC official.
After the launch of Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna (SAUBHAGYA) program, by January 2019, all unelectrified households in Gujarat were electrified, according to data provided by the government at the SAUBHAGYA dashboard. The electrification has led to a significant increase in the number of metered consumers across the state and consequently, the services of meter testing laboratories. Mercom previously reported that the SAUBHAGYA program missed its December 2018 deadline by a narrow margin.
Mercom previously reported that starting from April 2019, the government has planned to replace all existing electricity meters in the country with smart prepaid meters. The process of switching over is expected to take nearly three years. This initiative by the Ministry of Power is expected to reduce the aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses, improve the financial health of distribution companies, incentivize energy conservation, and make bill payments hassle-free and environmentally friendly by doing away with the paper copies. This move is also likely to help low-income consumers as they would not need to pay the entire month’s bill at a time.