New Delhi: Gujarat’s Paschim Gujarat Vij Co. Ltd, or PGVCL, a power distribution arm of state electricity board Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd, or GUVNL, has started outsourcing the job of reading electricity meters.
Boosting efficiency: Gujarat has more than nine million meters now. Photograph: Adam Ferguson / Bloomberg
The move comes after state-owned utilities in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Orissa started outsourcing their electricity meter reading to boost distribution efficiency, curb unauthorized use and cut costs.
“We are outsourcing meter reading for our distribution companies and have begun it on an experimental basis,” said L. Chuango, managing director of GUVNL.
PGVCL has contracted local firm Sanghvi Computers Pvt. Ltd to read meters in Bhuj town for a monthly fee of Rs15 lakh.
“Right now it is difficult to assess the savings. It will help us keep the recruitment under check and utilize the services of our existing employees in a better way,” Chuango said. “This exercise will continue to other parts of the state as well.”
Gujarat has four power distribution companies — Madhya Gujarat Vij Co. Ltd, PGVCL, Dakshin Gujarat Vij Co. Ltd and Uttar Gujarat Vij Co. Ltd — to cater to various areas of the state.Officials of Sanghvi Computers couldn’t be reached for comment.
Gujarat currently has more than nine million meters. The state loses 30% of the power it distributes compared with the national average of 40%.“Outsourcing meter-reading operations on performance-based contracts is a good thing if the distribution utilities are able to manage it,” said Shubranshu Patnaik, executive director at consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Some utilities that have already outsourced their meter reading include Delhi-based North Delhi Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd.
Some experts are of the view that states are initiating moves to improve meter reading because the central government’s initiative hasn’t yielded results.