Government To Soon Introduce Pre-Paid Smart Meters For Electricity, Reveals Union Power Minister R K SinghR K Singh speaking at an event in New Delhi. (@RajKSinghIndia/Twitter)

In a push to prevent electricity theft and provide customers with greater flexibility, the government is pushing forward with plans to initiate smart pre-paid metering, revealed Union Minister of State for power and renewable energy R K Singh has revealed in an interview with Hindustan Times.

He stated that the centre would direct all states to mandatorily install prepaid smart meters for electricity from 1 April 2019 onwards. Consumers in several places have complained about inflated bills, and this move will help prevent this problem.

This new decision means that the whole billing and collection process will become automated. Distribution companies (DISCOMs) will also benefit from this decision as they would be paid in advance.

Singh stated that the new system means that similar to pre-paid sim cards, customers will be able to recharge their smart meters according to their needs- whether they require electricity even for a few days or for a few hours.

He also commented on the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana deadline for universal household electrification being advanced by three months from 31 March 2019 to 31 December 2018, stating that electrification is being carried out at a brisk pace of one lakh households each day. Four states, namely Rajasthan, Meghalaya, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh may still remain not fully electrified by the end of December, and for them, a deadline of 25 January has been envisaged.

Singh also gave an assurance that the government is prepared to tackle the problem of load shedding, stating that a policy would be introduced to penalise DISCOMs responsible for load shedding.

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