New Delhi: The Union government has plans to make all electricity meters smart and prepaid in three years in a bid to cut transmission and distribution losses, an official statement said.

"Move towards smart meters is a pro-poor step as consumers need not pay the whole month's bill in one go, they can pay as per their requirements," it said.

The Union Power Ministry has decided to make all meters smart prepaid in three years from 1 April 2019.

"This step is likely to bring revolution in power sector by way of reduction in AT&C losses, better health of DISCOMs, incentivisation of energy conservation, ease of bill payments and doing away with the paper bills," the statement said.

Manufacturing of smart prepaid meters will also generate skilled employment for the youth.

State governments had earlier signed the Power for All document and had agreed to supply power round the clock to their consumers.

Under this, "the distribution licensee shall provide 24x7 power to their consumers by April 1, 2019, or earlier. However the appropriate Commission in exceptional circumstances for the reasons to be recorded in writing may grant extension in this time period," the statement added.

Decided in August

The decision was actually taken in August. After the move to provide cheaper LED bulbs, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government planned to further bring down the cost of smart electricity meters for homes and offices.

Union power minister Piyush Goyal had said that the electricity meters, priced at around Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000, would come down to under Rs 1,000 a unit.

In the Lok Sabha in August, Goyal referred to Yogi Adityanath government’s initiative to purchase lakhs of new smart electricity meters. He said when that happened, there would no longer be fudged readings and the meters would help in catching those stealing electricity. He also talked about a similar initiative in Haryana.

Goyal had told the House that there would be a simplified smart electricity meter which would be tamper-proof. It would eliminate the role of the linesman, with the readings going directly into the computer, he said.

Goyal said that the attempt was to bring down the price to Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 and finally below Rs 1,000. The Minister of Power said that the meters would be entirely made in India, as the country is one of the best manufacturers of such devices in the world.

The Centre and state governments have discussed the implementation.

The Narendra Modi government has already managed to bring down the cost of LED bulbs from over Rs 300 to Rs 40.

With inputs from PTI and Financial Express