Shillong, July 27: The Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) on Wednesday sought clarification on the cost of installing smart meters from Deputy Chief Minister in-charge Power Prestone Tynsong.
In a statement, HYC general secretary Roykupar Synrem pointed out the anomaly in the project cost for installing 1.8 lakh smart meters.
“…how the cost of the project for the installation and Supply of 180000 Nos of Smart Meters is given at a cost of Rs 232 crore when the cost of each meter is only Rs 3,750 as per his statement on the floor of the house,” Synrem said.
HYC also sought justification on how the installation, testing and other services of each smart meter is quoted at Rs 9,191 when the cost of the meter is only Rs 3,750.
This was after the then Power Minister James Sangma had stated on the floor of the House on March 11, 2021, that the cost of each smart metre is about Rs 3,400 while the Deputy CM on March 17, 2022 had answered that the cost of single-phase and three-phase smart meters are Rs 3,750 and Rs 5,120 without GST, respectively, for the supply and installation of the smart meters.
Synrem also informed that as per the reply to an RTI query, it was found that the Board of Directors’ meeting of MPDCL on February 12, 2021, approved the price offered by JV of Satnam Global for Rs 195.34 crore (without taxes and provisional sum) and Rs 232.96 crore with GST and Provisional sum at a derived costing of Rs 9,444 per meter with services.
“The total contract is Rs 232,96,39344 and if you make a simple calculation, the total cost incurred for the supply and Installation of one smart meter is Rs 12,941, whereby the cost of installation, testing, commissioning of each smart meter is Rs 12,941 minus Rs 3,750 that is Rs 9,191, which is almost two times its procurement cost. (Therefore), it is unclear as to how the ministers concerned provided the answers above when the calculations of the project cost shows the rates of the supply and installation per meter is Rs 12,941 with GST,” he said.
The HYC leader further informed that RTI findings also revealed that the cost of maintenance and sim cards of the smart meters will have to be borne by the consumers at the end of a period of 2 years. “This in our view will create great difficulties to the consumers, particularly the rural consumers,” he said.
Stating that as per RTI, the East and West Garo Hills Distribution Circles are two Circles where AT&C Losses is very high at 75.34% and 60.72%, respectively, Synrem said, “We reiterate our demands as stated in our earlier communication to the state government that smart meters should be implemented in the two Distribution Circles as a pilot project. And if the results are satisfactory, then it may be extended to other Distribution Circles where AT&C Losses are comparatively high.”
“We also demand that the MPDCL should carry out awareness programs on the pros and cons and the future liabilities of the consumers in those Villages where Smart meters will be installed,” he added.