Vadodara Outrage: 1700 Electricity Connections Cut Off Over Smart Meters Dispute

Smart Meter Implementation Leads to Protests at Alkapuri, Gorwa, and Akota Power Offices

Following a significant increase in electricity bills due to the implementation of smart meters, customers protested at the power offices of Alkapuri, Gorwa, and Akota. Angered by the monthly bills doubling or tripling, protesters demanded the removal of smart meters and the reinstallation of traditional meters.

The Smart City Vadodara agency has been tasked with replacing old electricity meters with new smart meters for each connection holder in Vadodara. However, concerns over malfunctions in these smart meters and the possibility of higher bills led to heated protests. In a particularly intense demonstration, enraged residents stormed the offices of the Subhanpura area of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana’s Swami Vivekananda Heights-1. The doors of the power company’s office were forcibly shut during the protest.

Protests Subside After Assurance from Electricity Company

After intense protests, the doors were finally opened. Angry residents, expressing their discontent, demanded the removal of smart meters and the reinstallation of traditional ones. Police also arrived at the scene to manage the situation.

Similar protests erupted at the Gorwa power company office after the incident in Alkapuri. Eventually, representatives from the electricity company attempted to manage the situation.

The power company states that initially, 25,000 meters were installed in the city, out of which 21,000 were converted to smart prepaid meters. Due to a glitch in the system, bills for over 1,700 connections were incorrectly calculated, resulting in inflated bills. However, those who have recharged their meters will have their connections restored.

Chaos at Electricity Company Offices over High Bills

The issue of high electricity bills continues to stir controversy, as residents demand action from the electricity company. One resident, who had visited the pharmacy today, discovered there was no electricity at home. Upon inquiry, her husband revealed that they had recharged the meter with ₹2,000 just 12 days ago. Despite this, their bill has escalated from ₹700 to ₹800 over the course of two months. Feeling exploited, they joined around 300 others in lodging a complaint at the electricity company’s office. However, they were met with closed doors and eventually had to involve the police, who dispersed the crowd.

In response to such grievances, authorities have announced plans to install five check meters for every 100 smart meters. This move aims to ensure accurate readings and rebuild trust among consumers who have been skeptical of the new smart meter system. Officials assure that the readings from these check meters will closely match those of the traditional meters, alleviating concerns about discrepancies in billing. Today, efforts were made to implement this system.

Difference between Smart Meters and Traditional Meters

Smart Meters:

  • Connection Fee: In smart meters, the connection fee is approximately Rs. 300, which is waived off. This means that even after the customer has completed the recharge, they can still use around Rs. 300 worth of electricity.
  • Data Collection: Smart meters collect data remotely, eliminating the need for physical visits. For bill payment, there is a grace period of 10 days. Visiting the office in person may be required to connect or disconnect services.
  • Online Bill Viewing: Consumption bills can be viewed online daily, and data can be accessed remotely.

Traditional Meters:

  • Connection Fee: There is no waived connection fee in traditional meters, and the entire recharge amount is utilized for electricity consumption.
  • Data Collection: Traditional meters require physical visits for data collection. There is a grace period of 10 days for bill payment, and a visit to the office may be necessary to connect or disconnect services.
  • Online Bill Viewing: Bills cannot be viewed online for traditional meters, and they are delivered to the household every two months.

Niyati Rao

Niyati Rao is a seasoned writer and avid consumer who specializes in crafting informative and engaging articles and product reviews. With a passion for research and a knack for finding the best deals, Niyati enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their purchases.