The government has planned to install prepaid digital electricity meters in Chittagong, Comilla, Rajshahi and Pabna gradually in an effort to get rid of the system loss culture and electricity pilferage.
The government is now working on four projects for Chittagong, Comilla-Mymensingh, Rajshahi Pabna and a unified meter for five utility services under which some 5,45,000 meters will be installed.
“We’re now working on four projects. The tender of the Chittgaong project is expected to be floated by September last week,” Project Director of prepaid meters system M Belayet Hossain told.
The official said a recommendation finalized at the Power Development Board (PDB) meeting which was forwarded to the ministry concerned for the approval.
A total of 1,39,000 meters will be installed in Chittagong under the project, he said.
Earlier, 20,000 meters were installed in Chittagong under a pilot project, Assistant Director (Public Relations) of Bangladesh power Development Board (BPDB) M Monbiruzzaman told.
Responding to a question, Belayet Hossain said they have a time to complete the project by December 2014. “But the deadline might be extended as there has been a gap already after taking the initiative. We’re starting afresh. Normally, it takes two years to implement a project.”
Responding to another query, he said the project cost has been estimated at Tk 137 crore and it will be implemented under the GoB.
On the Rajshahi-Pabna project, Belayet Hossain said it is still at premature stage and they recommended GoB funding for implementing the project.
“There’ll be 2,33,000 meters under the project and Tk 260 crore has been estimated for the project,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Comilla-Mymensingh project is awaiting Ecnec (Executive Committee of National Economic Council) approval. “We hope we’ll get the approval by December,” Belayet Hossain said.
An amount of Tk 134 crore has been estimated for the project and a total of 1,38,500 meters will be installed under the project.
Meanwhile, 35,000 meters will be installed under a unified utility metre project.
Some 46,000 digital electricity meters were installed in Chittagong, Bogra, Sylhet and Sirajganj under the pilot project.
The prepaid meters will have different features, most significantly the ability to control high load during peak hours.
The government has taken up the initiatives to cut the electricity system loss which currently hovers from 10 to 13 percent and allow consumers to have control over power consumption.
A big chunk of electricity that power companies generate is lost or remains unaccounted for. There is another 5-7 percent loss due to non-technical reasons at customer level such as tampering with meters, illegal connections and others, according to the Power Division of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources.
It said the prepaid metering system proved to be consumer friendly and cost effective and prepaid metering system can reduce accounts receivable and non-technical losses up to zero percent.