Digital electricity meters: Consumers confounded by new meters

Published: July 22, 2012

The new meter. PHOTO: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

ISLAMABAD: 

Tech-savvy is not a word that can be used to describe most residents of the capital, as a rising number of complaints about digital electricity meters would suggest.

Ever since the Islamabad Electricity Supply Company (IESCO) installed the new meteres in different parts of the city, the electricity consumers have been having a hard time reading them. The “various readings on the new meter”, some suggest, add to the confusion.

The Network for Consumer Protection (TheNetwork) has also expressed concern over the development.

TheNetwork Executive Coordinator Nadeem Iqbal said the power distribution companies (DISCOs) are sending out loud messages against the theft but have failed to create an awareness campaign for millions of consumers.

He maintained that the units reading structure in new meters is quite complex and consumers cannot comprehend it due to a lack of familiarity with the various readings on the meters.

According to him, NEPRA, under the NEPRA Act 1997, is responsible to consult all stakeholders including consumers when determining issues relating to tariffs, billing and meter reading structures. As service providers, DISCOs are obligated to educate consumers on these matters. However, no consultation was done by NEPRA with consumers while mulling over the installation of digital meters, nor were any efforts made by DISCOs to educate them about the reading structures, he said.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Danish Hussain, a resident of Sector F-8, said it was good sign that IESCO installed the new meters to overcome electricity theft, but felt that “before installing the meters they should have created awareness among consumers”.

Similarly, Shabbir Niazi from F-6 said he could not understand how to read the meter in peak hours and low hours because of the complicated procedure.

IESCO Spokesperson Muhammad Farooq said that the company has facilitated the consumers to help them better understand the new meters, noting that all information necessary to understand the new meters has been provided on the back of electricity bills.

Many attempts were made to contact the NEPRA spokesperson but he was not available for comment.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Awans
    Jul 22, 2012 - 11:22AM

    Most of the people really dont like Digital Meters as Electricity theft is problematic with this meter and for my Tableeghi Neighbor it is not good at all as They have to wake up late at night to pray under the Kunda light provided freely by Allah to their doorstep and ofcourse Tax is Haraam and came from West so Tax cannot be paid as well by them.

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  • FF
    Jul 22, 2012 - 10:36PM

    well said Awans, well said

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  • Anwar
    Jul 23, 2012 - 1:32AM

    Well said, Awan

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  • danish zuberi
    Aug 27, 2012 - 12:23AM

    they gave a booklet or a user manual with the digital meter installed at my home. the meter gives date, time, current reading, power tariff normal (T1) and peak time tariff 6:30-12:00 (T2), power cosumed during T1 and T2. the meter has scrolling facility to skip details. I have not checked if it has a memory bank to retrive previous readings, being digital it should. Then again living in a country where people dont read the Highway Code Book (I did it in 1984) before they start driving and cheater students become teachers – how can we expect people to understand something so complex as reading a digital counter.

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  • Virk
    Sep 12, 2012 - 11:36AM

    Dear
    if any one can help me understand the different displays on the meter means.
    would be grateful if someone can share experience.

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