Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 04 October 2023 3.08 PM IST

Smart meter project put on hold due to opposition from labour unions


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KSEB has been directed to suspend operations for implementing the smart meter project until the government takes a decision on the report of the expert committee. The order was issued by KR Jyothilal, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Energy. This is due to strong opposition from labour unions.

The initial decision was to install 37 lakh smart meters in the first phase.

Minister K Krishnankutty informed this in a meeting of labour leaders called yesterday. The minister said that the government will consider further action after checking whether the implementation of the project is related to additional borrowing by the state, whether the central assistance will be lost if the project is not implemented in the TOTEX model (a method in which the contract company bears the entire cost and is reimbursed later).

KSEB had invited tenders to implement the project and started its evaluation on April 29. After the order came, the proceedings were stopped.

If the scheme is implemented, the credit limit of the government will increase by 0.5%. KSEB income will also increase.The opposition of the organizations is to entrust private companies on the TOTEX model. KSEB will have to find Rs 8000 crore for project implementation if not for TOTEX model. The board is of the opinion that it is not possible.

In yesterday's meeting as well, the leaders took a position that TOTEX will not be possible. The power department officials told the meeting that if the project is not implemented, the Centre will withdraw the subsidy of crores of rupees due to KSEB for the modernization of the power sector and share it with other states implementing the project, but the leaders did not relent.

CITU State General Secretary Elamaram Kareem, INTUC State President A. Chandrasekaran and others participated. CPI State Secretary Kanam Rajendran was unable to attend due to illness and gave his opinion in writing.

On the 13th, Kerala Kaumudi had reported that there is a move to make crores in smart meters and sub-contracting strategy by using C-DAC as a cover.

If the smart meter is implemented

1. Employees can disconnect and restore electricity from the office and calculate usage.

2. Rate varies according to time of use. Through this, consumption can be controlled. Buying power from outside at exorbitant rates and collecting cess on it can be avoided.

3. The post of 4000 meter readers will be abolished.

In the expert committee report

If the project is handed over to the government agency C-DAC, it will not succeed. If the project is rejected, central assistance may be lost.

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