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The Union government is looking to bring Quality Control Order (QCO) for mass production items such as smart electric meters and ceiling fans with an aim to discourage manufactiuing of sub-standard products, a government official said.

Experts said that QCO on smart meter could ensure through automatic bill generation and remote disconnection which could go on to increase discom revenues as metering and billing efficiencies would improve substantially.

The Quality Control Orders (QCO) on smart meters also assumes significance as the government is aiming to deploy over 25 crores smart prepaid meters for all domestic consumers by 2025 to facilitate timley payment of electricity bills.

“We are looking to bring Quality Control Orders (QCO) on mass production items such as smart electric meters and ceiling fans. We are examining standards across all products to look for areas where there is domestic production capacity, labs, product manuals and process for standardization…and QCOs will be brought where these things are present," the official added.

Mint has reported that the government had to suspended smart meter bids under its 3.03 trillion Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) till 15 March 2022 due to multiple issues

such as lack of communication by some installed smart meters, excessive time taken in integrating Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).

Earlier this year, Quality Control Order (QCO) was released for toys which made it mandatory for the industry to conform to the requirements of relevant Indian Standard and bear the Standard Mark under a licence from BIS as per Scheme-I of BIS (Conformity Assessment) Regulations, 2018.

Ministry of Consumer Affairs had said that out of the 10 standards which were brought, 7 were part of Quality Control Order (QCO) on ‘Safety of Toys’. This Quality Control Order makes it mandatory that toys for children under 14 years of age conform to 7 Indian Standards for Safety of Toys and bear a Standard Mark under licence from BIS.

“We are actively pushing for QCOs …from 2000 to 2019, only 19 QCOs was released but just in the last three years DPIIT has come out with 20 QCOs," the official further added.

QCO on smart meter comes at a time when India is pushing to leverage electricity smart meters to reduce distribution losses. The union power ministry has also advised Central government offices to switch over to prepaid smart meters on priority.

Experts said that Discoms have traditionally been the weakest link in the electricity value chain, plagued by low collections, rise in power purchase cost, inadequate tariff hikes and subsidy disbursement, and mounting dues from government departments.

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